The Poem as Companioning Power, with a Poem by Milosz

Poems exert a deep influence on their creators and readers. Some are returned to over and over, making available profound resources of understanding comparable to the best of friends. This companioning power makes the space of the poem a shared space. As William Desmond puts it, the ‘between’ is a hospitable space, regardless of genre. The quality of communication made possible in the between is MORE than the give and take of dialogue. The communication model of the poem is not defined by the dialectic of concepts but by an original flow of energy known to poets as unnamable. Czeslaw Milosz addresses this in a ‘last poem’ (see Selected and Last Poems 1931 — 2004, p 303.)

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Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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