Monday, March 7, 2011

Quote(s) du Jour: Simic on Poets and Poetry

Some ratiocination of Charles Simic on the subjects of poets and poetry:

There are three kinds of poets: Those who write without thinking, those who think while writing, and those who think before writing.

Awe (as in Dickinson) is the beginning of metaphysics. The awe at the multiplicity of things and awe at their suspected unity.

To make something that doesn’t yet exist, but which after its creation would look as if it always existed.

The never-suspected, the always-awaited, the immediately recognized new poem. It’s like Christ’s Second Coming.

“What do poets really want?” I was asked that once by a clever professor of philosophy. It was late at night and we were drinking a lot of wine, so I just said the first thing that came into my mind: “They want to know about things that cannot be put into words.”

Metaphor offers the opportunity for my inwardness to connect itself with the world out there. All things are related, and that knowledge resides in my unconscious.

The poets and writers I admire stood alone. Philosophy, too, is always alone. Poetry and philosophy make slow solitary readers.

A recent critic has enumerated what he calls “the lexicon” of recent poetry. The words mentioned as occurring repeatedly are: wings, stones, silence, breath, snow, blood, water, light, bones, roots, jewels, glass, absence, sleep, darkness. The accusation is that the words are used as ornaments. It doesn’t occur to the critic that these words could have an intense life for a mind with an imaginative and even a philosophical bent.

[all excerpts from pp. 44-45 of The Monster Loves His Labyrinth]