Poetry is the language of intensity. Because we are going to die, an expression of intensity is justified.
It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so.
Uniformity, in its motives, its goals, its far-ranging consequences, is the natural enemy of poetry, not to mention the enemy of trees, the soil, the exemplary life therein.
Poetry takes you into the recesses of the language, the neglected corners, cracks and crannies and to the big sky of wonder. It opens the door to a critique without which you have rather boring analytical tools by comparison. To cultivate poetry means to stay with it. Not to abandon hope, but to abide.
I am suggesting that the radical of poetry lies not in the resolution of doubts but in their proliferation
One opinion I share with the Dadaists is that art-making presupposes a revolutionary state of mind. Assimilating the practice into commodity or symbol of status nullifies its fundamental aims; therefore at the center of my own adherence to to this ranginess in taste is that it doesn’t add up to membership in a private club. The differences choose me. There are so many approaches, so many innovative moves, so many oddly shaped ears in the field; may they never sing in unison.
Poetry seems especially like nothing else so much as itself. Poetry is not like, it is the very lining of the inner life.
Readers have to be sought out and won to the light of the page, poem by poem, one by one by one.
Poetry requires deliberate movement in its direction, a filament of faith in its persistence, receptivity to its fundamental worthwhileness. Within its unanesthetized heart there is quite a racket going on. Choices have to be made with respect to every mark. Not every mistake should be erased. Nor shall the unintelligible be left out. Order is there to be wrenched from the tangles of words. Results are impossible to measure. A clearing is drawn around the perimeter as if by a stick with a nail on the end.
The artistic reward for refuting the received national tradition is liberation. The price is homelessness. Interior exile.
Poetry is a necessity of life.
Everyone in their car needs love.
Almost none of the poetries I admire stick to their labels, native or adopted ones. Rather, they are vagrant in their identifications. Tramp poets, there you go, a new label for those with unstable allegiances.
There is an idealism associated with poetry I would not dispel but question. It doesn’t change anything except within. It shifts your insides around. Poetry is not going to reach the numbers of people by which we commonly consider a large audience. It just isn’t a stadium-filler. It could still galvanize people during a crisis, but let’s just say there are two points at which poetry is indispensable to people – at the point of love and the point of death. I’ll second that emotion.
I have taught the long poem off and on for years. The more book-length poems I read and studied and taught the more interested I was in the possibilities in writing a poetry that applied formal and substantive options of narrative and non-narrative, lyric and non-lyric. I found many pleasures in this kind of writing. The long poem is as old as the art form.
I think a book-length poem stands about as good a chance as a collection of individual poems in reaching its field of ears. This does not mean I have not found some of them too daunting to read all the way through, but it would seem there ought to be some ambition on the writer’s part to create a work that would be “a read” all the way through. If not, all the pleasure belongs to the maker, and that in itself is something, an achievement.