johnsu01 (johnsu01) wrote,

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Notes on Poetry

A couple of interesting quotes about the connection between poetry and politics and self.

From an interview with D. Nurkse in Rain Taxi Spring 2004.

I think it's absolutely important to situate yourself historically. It's as important as it is to show the reader visually where you are. If you don't situate yourself in time, a certain level of blindness happens in the poem. But it's a risk too. It's always a risk to enter the realm of the concrete. I think there's a wish to begin with the absolute or the universal and general. Hegel speaks of the danger of trying to attain the absolute without doing what he calls the labor and suffering of the negative. And I think that's what the artist has to do. The artist has to enter that realm of limitation. Which is, again, a shortcoming of what we know of as political poetry. I think that we're familiar with a political poetry that tries to do a detour around that labor and suffering of the negative and speak from a position of moral purity...

From an interview with John Kinsella:

I am increasingly finding poetry writing a traumatic experience. I get agitated and uptight in the days before a "binge". I know the poem's coming, but find it hard to retain emotional equilibrium. It's never an act of healing for me...Poetry is not a pleasurable experience for me. I have always had an addictive personality, and I have long tried to overcome it. I hope I am writing myself into silence...

...Poetry has always been the necessary expression of my life, and the political issues you mention are the issues that inform what I write. That doesn't mean I want to write a poem to "tell" someone what to think or feel---a poem should only evoke and suggest. Its ambiguities and the self-referentiality of language itself should do the "telling", and not the poet...

...I have become very disillusioned with the false dichotomies that have been created in contemporary poetry to facilitate difference. All poets are different. The obviousness of this simply varies by degrees. Difference is the end I think the language shapes the writer and not the other way around. That doesn't mean that we/I don't try to change this "fact", rather that it's the effect of the reading of a poem, as much as the writing. In actuality, I am more interested in the unsaid, the unwritten, the half-conceived poem. What isn't written. I see my poems in my head---written out, on imaginary sheets. I can hear this writing. I hybridize out of a need to challenge the status quo. I don't want to decode my personal language for anyone. Readers have enough tools to take it in their own direction, through their own spatialities. Poetry is more about the reading than the writing process for me.

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