on poetry

May 27, 2022


“Often when I sit at my desk unable to write, ‘blocked’ as they put it, I open a [William] Stafford book and start to read. He makes it sound so easy, almost conversational, that I find I have to answer him, and so I start to write. My first four or five lines may have a Stafford ring to them, but then my own voice kicks in and I am on my way.”
Linda Pastan
(b. May 27, 1932)

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photo copyright Carina Romano
quote

on poetry

May 8, 2022


Imagination! who can sing thy force?

Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?

Phillis Wheatley
(May 8, 1753 – December 5, 1784)

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illustration by Scipio Moorhead
quote from “On Imagination”

on poetry

April 27, 2022

“Aviation is poetry … It’s the finest kind of moving around, you know, just as poetry is the finest way of using words.”
Jessie Redmon Fauset
(April 27, 1882 – April 30, 1961)

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on poetry

March 17, 2022

“/ to see in the rain
an inventory of lost
blessings /”

Olga Orozco
(March 17, 1920 – August 15, 1999)

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quote from “Interrogation of the bird through its song”

on poetry

March 13, 2022


“I believe the poet today must write the unseen.”
Mahmoud Darwish
(March 13, 1941 – August 9, 2008)

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quote

on poetry

March 9, 2022


“Is the poem saying something that, before it existed, was unsaid, unsayable? Or is the poem making room for the unsayable to exist more freely, with all its fuchsia tentacles waving?”
Chen Chen
(b. March 9, 1989)

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quote

“My writing space is a hot mess. I tend to think in piles. So, it may look like a disaster area but I know where everything is. My decorating style is like a Pedro Almodóvar film — I like lots of color. I have pictures of friends on top of a file cabinet and a bureau with red doors that I fill with keepsakes and knick-knacks. It houses an autographed copy of Citizen!! It also has the Bible and the American flag I received at my father’s funeral. I use a red plastic dish rack for papers and the silverware holder for pens and pencils. On my desk is a red lamp, a framed rejection letter from The New Yorker, a tiny, red dinosaur from one of my students from Bronx Science in New York and a knitted change purse in the shape of a whale that I used to keep Marlboro Lights in when I smoked. I quit in 2011. In front of my desk, I bought this carpet from Ikea that looks like a multitude of blue circles. I could never get it to work on the floor, so I decided to hang it on the wall. Now, I pin postcards and important memos in each circle. Behind my desk, is a red metal and glass bookshelf that houses the printer, books I need to read and a silver, giant letter “S” that my husband bought me when he was bored and shopping at Home Goods. There is also a framed cover of my book that all of my high school English and creative writing teachers signed and sent to me. There are at least two burnt out writing candles in the room.”
Sjohnna McCray
(b. March 7, 1972)

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photo by Aaron Mervin
quote

on poetry

February 27, 2022

“Writers I like include, in earlier generations, William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens. There’s an American poet named John Wheelwright I like very much. Of course, I like Byron enormously; I’m crazy about Don Juan. And of course Keats and Shelley and I suppose everyone that everyone likes. I think my poetry was very influenced — it seems almost dumb to say it — but it was very influenced by Shakespeare. Very early on I read his plays…and, I don’t know, I started speaking in blank verse at a rather early age. [Laughing] But then, I’m a writer who likes to be influenced.”
Kenneth Koch
(February 27, 1925 – July 6, 2002)

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quote

on poetry

February 18, 2022

“I always said I’m a teacher who writes or an editor who writes. But I never said the real thing until after I’d written a third book. It’s the sort of thing that women frequently do. They sort of need permission to tell themselves that this is the work they do.”
Toni Morrison
(February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019)

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quote from the documentary film “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”

on poetry

February 11, 2022

“I think feeling can be, if not a replacement for other kinds of knowledge, a method that’s just as important, just as fierce.”
Franny Choi
(b. February 11, 1989)

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photo by Graham Cotten
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