. From William Desmond, The Gift of Beauty and the Passion of Being (Cascade 2018), p. 35.
From ‘What I Learned from Jeanne Hirsch’ (2000)
The tensions between the values of good prose and those of good verse are ESSENTIAL to poetry.
The poet need not apologize for drinking from several springs —- art, philosophy, religion.
from Richard Bringhurst, Everywhere Being is Dancing. Pages 111-127, an essay exploring the early history of literary criticism.
This is from Pindar’s 7th Nemean Ode.
“Poetry and thinking are vocations, not professions.” Robert Bringhurst
David Wheatley’s new collection “The President of Planet Earth” (Wake Forest) overflows with formal wit and wisdom.
Thinking about the fold, I’ll mention now a two-line poem titled “Sighting.”
A ? is standing on my
copy of “Birds of Scotland.”
The last three words are italicized (no quotation marks) as the title of the book the ? happens to be standing on. Presumably were it not
standing on the book the book would be in use to name it. But not knowing the name — referring to it only as a punctuation mark, even the least punctive or pointed question mark — makes us feel its presence as a mystery and a solider one at that.
The hinge (fold?) of the poem is “formally” the word copy. The bird, if we knew its name, would be closer to a copy of the model of the species. But we don’t know that species —- perhaps because we won’t open the book to find out and scare away the bird. The poem concludes with a name, not a question (mark). The final reference in the poem is to that definitive joining of title and substance that is a (copy of) a book and the other to the equivocal creature conjured in the first line. And yet the contrast between A and B rebounds to A. The nameless bird becomes a mystery in the flesh.
Very short poems must do a lot with little. The complex fold, the doubling of figurative structures, is happily unobtrusive. The clever poem is more than clever.