Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Letter concerning the Poem of the Week

My favorite quote about poetry is written by Howard Nemerov:

"Poetry is getting something right in language."

Poetry is that which represents the world rightly, whatever piece of the world it regards. Nemerov's definition solves the dilemma of whether prose can be poetic, or whether every thirteen year old's spillover angst is *really* poetry.** It can take the form of a conversation, a song, a quote, an aphorism, poem, or paragraph. So long as the language gets something right about its subject, a precise and undefinable art, it is poetry.

With this understood, I am looking to expand the poem of the week to any form of right language that catches me. Aphorisms will make a frequent appearance from now on; Nietzsche writes that they move from peak to peak of knowledge. They are the crystals of understanding, the hardest and most beautiful expression of truth that require little explanation.

At the risk of filling in knowledge for you (or perhaps to fill in knowledge for myself), I hope to in the future put down my thoughts about various aphorisms and poetry. Ultimately there is not much difference between the two. Often, my favorite part of a poem is not the entirity, but one line, one sure and clear idea nestled among images or events.

I hope that the aphorisms don't appear too corny, as they sometimes can taken out of context, but I suppose that is one of the responsibilities of the new form of the poem of the week.

This change follows some changes in my own intellectual and personal drives. Close-reading is a helpful skill, and I hope that you have learned something if you have read the poems and perhaps my thoughts. However, there is only so much a muscle may grow, especially if my blood begins to flow elsewhere. So, from now on I will offer you different dances between beauty and ideas, which, despite a change in size and focus, remain at the core of this blog.

As always, feel free to email me with any questions, responses, or ideas.


**of course prose can be poetry, and, sorry, most angsty "poetry" is merely a collection of dripping, overstuffed sentences.

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