It’s your privilege to find me incomprehensible. I gave you my minutes, let them remain ours. I hope I haunt you.
the next time you hear someone in a workshop remarking on how good a particular free-verse line or passage sounds, scan it. The odds are that it will fall into a regular metrical pattern.
Human beings, in a sense, may be thought of as multidimensional creatures composed of such poetic considerations as the individual need for self-realization, subdued passions for overwhelming beauty, and a hunger for meaning beyond the flavors that enter and exit the physical body.
I am alive to a usual objection to what is clearly part of my programme for the metier of poetry. The objection is that the doctrine requires a ridiculous amount of erudition (pedantry), a claim which can be rejected by appeal to the lives of poets in any pantheon. It will even be affirmed that much learning deadens or perverts poetic sensibility. While, however, we persist in believing that a poet ought to know as much as will not encroach upon his necessary receptivity and necessary laziness, it is not desirable to confine knowledge to whatever can be put into a useful shape for examinations, drawing rooms, or the still more pretentious modes of publicity. Some can absorb knowledge, the more tardy must sweat for it. Shakespeare acquired more essential history from Plutarch than most men could from the whole British Museum. What is to be insisted upon is that the poet must develop this consciousness throughout his career. What happens is a continual surrender of himself as he is at the moment to something which is more valuable. The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.
I used to be a poet.My words were traded in marketplaces like pieces of gold.Merchants bought my verses for as much as they paid for saffron and Indian jade.Now I am old...drunk on wine and candle fumes.Alone in this barren room, I speak my psalms to the night air so as to entertain moths before they go off to die.I used to be a poet and my words were gold.
Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter some house or garden in which we used to live in our youth. But these are most hazardous pilgrimages, which end as often in disappointment as in success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years. And great fatigue followed by a good night's rest can to a certain extent help us to do so. For in order to make us descend into the most subterranean galleries of sleep, where no reflexion from overnight, no gleam of memory comes to light up the interior monologue—if the latter does not itself cease—fatigue followed by rest will so thoroughly turn over the soil and penetrate the bedrock of our bodies that we discover down there, where our muscles plunge and twist in their ramifications and breathe in new life, the garden where we played in our childhood. There is no need to travel in order to see it again; we must dig down inwardly to discover it. What once covered the earth is no longer above but beneath it; a mere excursion does not suffice for a visit to the dead city: excavation is necessary also. But we shall see how certain fugitive and fortuitous impressions carry us back even more effectively to the past, with a more delicate precision, with a more light-winged, more immaterial, more headlong, more unerring, more immortal flight, than these organic dislocations.
There is no single thing... that is so cut and dried that one cannot attend to its secret whisper which says 'I am more than just my appearance'. If each object quivers with readiness to imply something other than itself, if each perception is a word in a poem dense with connotations, then the poet's selection of any given subject of speculation will become... a means of attuning himself to the rhythms and harmonies of reality at large. ... The notion of a network of correspondence is not an outmoded Romantic illusion: it represents a crucial intuition...
What is a Poet? He is a man speaking to men: a man, it is true, endued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind; a man pleased with his own passions and volitions, and who rejoices more than other men in the spirit of life that is in him; delighting to contemplate similar volitions and passions as manifested in the goings-on of the universe, and habitually impelled to create them where he does not find them.
The sonnet, a lyrical poem, the beauty and magic... convey with our hearts the truth of the universe in a single moment briefly.