Friday, July 26, 2013

Another quote of the week: Mary Oliver on poetry

For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed.
--Mary Oliver

What lovely imagery--and what a beautifully constructed sentence. Totally geeking out right now.

This is from her book, A Poetry Handbook, which is basically about how to read poetry. And a little bit about how to write it. I totally recommend it, even though it's kind of a school-y thing for a grownup to read.

I remember my first poetry class in college--Modern Poetry with I Forget The Professor's Name my junior year. I was already pretty good at close textual analysis (if I do say so myself) but this class really opened my eyes. The professor looked at all of these different elements--meter, rhythm, diction, syntax, form, imagery...stuff I really kind of knew about already but had never had them systematically named and unpacked for me.

 It's kind of like cooking. Having the right tools and learning how to use the properly can make all the difference. Everything is easier and more fun. 

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