poetry, politics, and some favorite plums
I'd posted a quotation list on 5/25, Sara--I, too, dislike it... “Poetry,” Marianne Moore“With Poe words were figures; an old language truly, but one from which he carried over only the most elemental qualities to his new purpose; which was, to find a way to tell his soul.” In the American Grain, William Carlos WilliamsI went out to the hazel wood,Because a fire was in my head,And cut and peeled a hazel wand,And hooked a berry to a thread;And when white moths were on the wing,And moth-like stars were flickering out,I dropped the berry in a streamAnd caught a little silver trout. “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” W. B. Yeats“An oar moves a boat by entering what lies outside it. A poem, like an oar, extends inner life into the waters of story and things, of language and music.” “The Questions of Originality,” Jane HirshfieldA god can do it. But will you tell me howa man can penetrate through the lyre’s strings? The Sonnets to Orpheus, I, 3, R. M. Rilke“It is nothing new to say that all utterance is erotic in some sense, that all language shows the structure of desire at some level.” Eros the Bittersweet, Anne CarsonA word is deadWhen it is said,Some say.I say it justBegins to liveThat day. #1212, Emily Dickinson“Poetry is the kind of thing you have to see from the corner of your eye…. It’s like a very faint star. If you look straight at it you can’t see it, but if you look a little to one side it is there.” Writing the Australian Crawl, William Stafford“Everyone knows that poets are born and not made in school. This is true also of painters, sculptors, and musicians. Something that is essential can’t be taught; it can only be given, or earned, or formulated in a manner too mysterious to be picked apart and redesigned for the next person.” A Poetry Handbook, Mary OliverA hand moves, and the fire’s whirling takes different shapes,Triangles, squares: all things change when we do.The first word, “Ah,” blossomed into all others.Each of them is true. “Singing Image of Fire,” Kūkai (9th century)
Hi Sam,Wow, I love some of these! 'Good choices.I had heard the first one before, but forgot it -- thanks for reminding me -- it's so great. I get such a detailed image of her saying that. I wonder what it is about poets that we get and identify with such thoughts as that and Auden's "poetry does nothing," etc. Moore's also makes me laugh, which I like.The other ones that make me ache and jump and glow: Williams', Rilke's, Dickinson's, and Carson's, which I had never heard before and I'm so glad I now have.And I've always loved Oliver's. A teacher once wrote that on my end-of-semester portfolio, along with, "All I have done is to help to teach you who you already are." I stopped breathing for a few seconds when I read that; I still do anytime I read or think of that now. It completely humbles and astonishes me.I read these and I feel so knocked over by how beautiful and brilliant language can be. And some human beings, as well.
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