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Poetry Undefined by Christina Murphy.


T. S. Eliot: “While poetry attempts to convey something beyond what can be conveyed in prose rhythms, it remains, all the same, one person talking to another.”


Oh please, c’mon. Who are you talking to face to face with that guy wandering around in a hyacinth garden and feeling oh-so-sad about not grabbing a kiss from Marie when he could but being paralyzed with rejection / performance fears? And Madame Sosostris - who’s she talking to? And the 900 footnotes all over The Waste Land - who are they talking to? And hey, did you ever think about Emily Dickinson up in her bedroom in Amherst, scribbling her thoughts down on scrap paper and cardboard shoe boxes, speaking only to herself and not “another” and yet reaching a bigger sphere of “anothers” than you did? Did you ever think about that? Hurry up, please. It’s time. Indeed - and you’re off the clock.


T.E. Hulme: Poetry communicates through images, which exist prior to language, and form a “visual chord” between the actual and the imagined, in order for to function like an Ideogram.


OK—maybe; we’ll give you that abstract / concrete idea. But Imagism is the like the Iroquois? Heard from them lately? Maybe the flower petals in the Metro were the highlight, and then after that everyone fell into writing haiku about the seasons, and it got very popular to be in a supermarket Howl-ing, but nowadays it is all about neo-domestic, neo-realism in which the “I” of the poet is everything, searching as the “I” does for meaning in a mundane world that does not measure up to satisfying the “I’s” exaggerated needs or desires. Or maybe it does, but only for the short while of a sunrise that begs for optimism, or a swarm of Canadian geese overhead that gives way to a meditation on the meaning / purpose of the “I’s” existence.


Thomas Gray: “Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.”


Really? Breathing thoughts and burning words? If it were that easy, then it would be even easier to find truth in this life, or maybe even Truth like Plato meant it and Kant questioned. Maybe we could float like Kierkegaard through days of doubt and indecision and settle, instead, for repetition and distraction as our only means of escape, of imagination, and thus the inner worlds and delights of subjectivity. If only.


W. B. Yeats: “Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”


Get back to your poet’s work of representing the subconsciously creative and the creatively subconscious mind, which is richly wonderful and not to be known in explanations. You know that’s true - but it’s all right. Life still has its epic and ordinary grandeur as you strive to find words for the imaginary reality of your creativity. Don’t hesitate to resonate / resound with that lovely and elusive “another.” The conversation is all - the voices, the voices, and the more voices, et al.


Adrienne Rich: “The moment of change is the only poem.”


Don’t hesitate.


a line, (a blue one)


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