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I keep the drafts of each poem in color-coded folders. I pick up the folders according to how I feel about that color that day.
The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is, 'What happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem?' That's the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere, because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.
If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery, a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster.
A. R. Ammons
It was early on in 1965 when I wrote some of my first poems. I sent a poem to 'Harper's' magazine because they paid a dollar a line. I had an eighteen-line poem, and just as I was putting it into the envelope, I stopped and decided to make it a thirty-six-line poem. It seemed like the poem came back the next day: no letter, nothing.
What is it precisely, that feeling of 'returning' from a poem? Something is lighter, softer, larger - then it fades, but never completely.
Twitter was like a poem. It was rich, real and spontaneous. It really fit my style. In a year and a half, I tweeted 60,000 tweets, over 100,000 words. I spent a minimum eight hours a day on it, sometimes 24 hours.
In high school I was very much involved in poetry. You cannot read a poem quickly. There's too much going on there. There are rhythms and alliterations. You have to read poetry slow, slow, slow to absorb it all.
Eugene H. Peterson
A poem in form still has to have voice, gesture, a sense of discovery, a metaphoric connection, as any poetry does.
The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.
Pain is filtered in a poem so that it becomes finally, in the end, pleasure.
In a poem the excitement has to maintain itself. I am governed by the pull of the sentence as the pull of a fabric is governed by gravity.
What we call a poem is mostly what is not there on the page. The strength of any poem is the poems that it has managed to exclude.
One of the rules of Greek lament poetry is that it mustn't mention the dead by name in case of invoking a ghost. Maybe the 'Iliad,' crowded with names, is more than a poem. Maybe it's a dangerous piece of the brightness of both this world and the next.
An experienced reader uses the poem as an agent of inquiry. This makes poetry very exciting, unstable, and interactive.
I would not say I chose to write long poems on a conscious level. The long poem has been a relative constant.
The reader's challenge is to replicate the experiment by reading the poem and to draw their own conclusions.
When I was 18 years old I went to Shakespeare Company, the school, and I wrote a poem about my leaves - I felt like a tree that had no leaves. That is the life at 18.
When you finish a poem, it clicks shut like the top of a jewel box, but prose is endless. I haven't experienced an awful lot of clicking shut!
One of my greatest joys is poetry. I read it almost every day, and I've even taken a stab at writing some of my own. A poem I wrote for my mother when she was dying really helped me get through that hard time.
I don't see that a single line can constitute a stanza, although it can constitute a whole poem.
The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme.
No poem, not even Shakespeare or Milton or Chaucer, is ever strong enough to totally exclude every crucial precursor text or poem.
'Love' is so short of perfect rhymes that convention allows half-rhymes like 'move.' The alternative is a plague of doves, or a kind of poem in which the poet addresses his adored both as 'love' and as 'guv' - a perfectly decent solution once, but only once, in a while.
The second, and I think this is the much more overt and I think it is the main cause, I have been increasingly demonstrating or trying to demonstrate that every possible stance a critic, a scholar, a teacher can take towards a poem is itself inevitably and necessarily poetic.
I am always pleased to be asked to write a poem.
Carol Ann Duffy
C. S. Lewis
John F. Kennedy
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