Monday, February 02, 2004

Ideé d’jour

The poem must resist the intelligence almost successfully. — Wallace Stevens, quoted in The Little Zen Companion
Who would guess that Mr. Stevens' primary occupation was accountant, rather than poet?

Nevertheless, I can only partially agree with this statement. The poem will resist intelligence as we commonly think of it — that is, mathematical, logical progressions. Rather, the poem will create its own intelligence. It may create a new intelligence. The poem is breathing under the influence of the wood which forms the pencil that scribbles the line. The poem is dancing in the light of the eyes that see new worlds in new ways. The poem may build the box, but will inevitably burst out of the box as well.

The poem does not sing because it can, but because it has to. We readers — and sometimes even the writer — are explorers vainly mapping the wild interior of each poem.

If we're lucky, we'll get lost inside it.
L.C. heard a recording of Robert Frost being asked why he didn't write "free verse". Having heard it a few times, it seemed a familiar quote. Frost replied that writing free verse was like playing tennis without a net.

Now, one can count the number of folk who currently write well-crafted structured verse like Frost's on one hand. That is, structure as we commonly think of it — regular meter, rhyme scheme, and so on. That is, unless you look to certain variants of rap & slam. Poetry, she gonna spring up where ever she want.

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