Ira Sadoff on Dickinson—the powers of complex metaphors connected by association, the wilderness of her imagination
Anne Marie Macari speaking about Theodore Roethke—when I feel a poem in my mouth, in my body, I am rich in physicality
Jean Valentine quoting Berryman’s advice to a young poet—“If you have to be sure, don’t write.”
Ira Sadoff in a lecture on structure:
-Poetry is associative, the place where improvisation and form intercept.
-Poetry has everything that makes for a good crash and burn love affair.
-Consciousness engenders passion and a penchant for justice.
-Imagine if we could make every moment matter, if we refined and honed the art of paying attention
-An embodied consciousness is the religion of poetry
-poems should always move toward intensification
-the key to revision is to ask of the poem “what’s the obsession? what’s the inquiry?”
Gerald Stern describing Alicia Ostriker—she shows her loyalty by not forgetting and by insisting, which are the same thing
Anne Marie Macari
-When we get to our real poems—after a long apprenticeship—the poems only we can write write us
-We are what we write, we are our language
-metaphor is not just a poetic device, it is the ultimate pattern of thought, the source of all new insight
-Never to get lost is never to live. To be always sure of where you are is very dangerous for a poet
-I’m not interested in transcendence
-We are being distracted by distraction from distraction
-We must live as if language were matter and mattered
-Poetry has become something to read or hear, but before print, poetry was something you could be. Imagine poetry before irony, which has contaminated our understanding, replacing feeling with gloss and substance with reflectivity. Poetry was shared, communal, never alone or solitary.
-the effect poetry is to shatter your fundamental assumptions
-of the final line of “Prufrock” –drowning is terrifying, but then everything is terrifying
Richard Hugo – you’ve written every poem you’ve loved
Gerald Stern of Jean Valentine’s poetry—in her work, I and thou are in a lifelong conversation
Peter Cole—aesthetics is to art what ornithology is to birds
from my notes from Joan Larkin—a poem’s meaning is the combine harvesting 10,000 hours of labor (did she say that, or did I invent it in response to something she said?)
Joan Larkin on Hopkins—there is a kind of joy in the recognition that we are not alone in our despair, in the glory of the music. Anyone who can count syllables, make rhymes, is no longer in the grip of despair
Dmitri Shostakovich—Art destroys silence
-A book of poems is not a plate of hors d’oeuvres
-we must avoid the fetish of the perfect poem
-when we are reading a book of poems, what makes us turn the page?