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why write? “To remember that a poem is always a compromise”

25 Jan

Stephen Dunn on Writing (yes capital W Writing), from the archives of the wonderful Green Mountains Review:

To be wary of the “important” subject.  To take it on anyway.  To know that it takes all the precision I can muster to be faithful to the ambiguities of experience.  To know that anything that resembles honesty is an achievement.  To worry when the poem seems to find its essence.  That is, to worry that I’ll execute what I’ve just learned about my poem.  Time, then, to give it wings.  Or say something the poem can’t yet accommodate.  To let the imagination reach for what it can’t yet accommodate.  To remember that a poem is always a compromise between the drift of language already employed and my willfulness.  When in doubt, follow the language and its sounds.

What I said about play and discovery aside, most poems, in my experience, are worried into existence.  Let them run wild, then make them behave.  Advice to self:  in art, no one cares or should care about your life.  But if you’re really good that day or the next, someone might, though it may not matter.  Always be aware of your betters.  Then try to stick it to them.

from the new Brevity: beautiful nonfiction from Vicky Mlyniec

14 Jan

This I Am Allowed” is a haunting, beautiful essay. You should probably read it.

The new Brevity also features work by Tobias Wolf and others, and as always wonderful new craft essays including this one by Philip Graham on memory and mystery.  A sampling: “… writing down memories makes them more real. Fifty years after that argument a single flash nonfiction exercise offered a greater understanding …

How strange—my mind had known the few words I’d need to remember, in order to one day comprehend their long term effect on me. How I wish I’d looked more closely, far sooner.”

Yes. (Read it.)

art as an experience between a viewer and the artwork

14 Jan

‎” … art should be considered an experience between a viewer and the artwork. In this way, there is nothing to interpret, nothing to decipher, nothing to “understand.”


The role of the critic, then, is to describe. What is the work doing? How is the work doing it? What happens to the work when it comes into contact with other works? And so on. Inherent in this approach is the act of participation, which requires the critic to become a part of the work by actively and creatively connecting with it.”

From Christopher Higgs’ incredibly worthy article How to Be a Critic over at HTML Giant, a journal we love.

Badger, Party of 7

HOMESCHOOLING MOTHER OF 5, ALL THINGS DOMESTIC, MY CRAZY LIFE

james (w) moore

poems, and the poet who poems them

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

Vinita Words

It's always about writing...

David J. Bauman

Co-author of Mapping the Valley

MarLa Sink Druzgal

Freelance Creative Professional

Beth Gilstrap

Writer * Editor * Educator * Weirdo

Anthony Wilson

Lifesaving Poems

momoby

Just another WordPress.com site

UnIambic

(The poetry blog of Grant Clauser)

Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics

Just another WordPress.com site

Largehearted Boy

a roominghouse for the servants of the duende