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Showing posts from September, 2020

CONCLUSIONS THAT NEVER CONCLUDE

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"If you don't like what you wrote, don't think about the words, just remember it better."I'm paraphrasing Robert Hass's advice on revision in a dimly-recalled Vimeo of a talk given in Rotterdam, a paraphrase itself of something Jack Kerouac once said. The context was a discussion of the sources of poetry according to Rilke (memory, dream, art) and its subjects (joy, longing, grief). Hass had set up a quick exercise in noting a location for each of those emotions.
Just before this, someone in the audience asked about revision, to which Hass responded with an anecdote (about Robert Duncan and his poem "My Mother Would Be a Falconress") that suggested a poem only acquires the name 'poem' when all the writing is done, essentially another way of saying writing is rewriting is writing.I recall, as a young person just beginning to find my own poems, asking a friend about her process and how she knew when a poem was finished. The question felt a litt…

HELLO LITTLE CHERRY IF THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE

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The cherries pictured here aren't from my own trees, though at this time of year they could be. (The orchid is a definite outlier.)
The image was made in my backyard on an August afternoon six or seven years ago. Today, coming across it again, I'm interested in how the cherries are so shiny they reflect the sky, trees and shrubs, and the screen house. Each cherry catches a different facet of the scene and throws it back, curved. If I could enlarge it enough, and if the timing of the picture-making had been just right, maybe I'd even see the fly-past of a vee of geese, the first we'd seen that season. But I can enlarge it only so far before the image loses definition.What happens when it loses definition is that the cherry holding the reflected image starts to become something else, something that defeats my expectations and assumptions about 'cherry.' It becomes an anti-cherry. A so-you-thought-you-knew-cherries cherry. A ceci n'est pas une pipe of a cherry…