the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: vonnegut on the duty of poets

Posted by rigorousm on June 19, 2012

I asked a poet friend one time what it was that poets did, and he thought awhile, and then he told me, “They extend the language.” I thought that was neat, but it didn’t make me grateful in my bones for poets. Language extenders I can take or leave alone.

Anne Sexton does a deeper favor for me: she domesticates my terror, examines it and describes it, teaches it some tricks which will amuse me, then lets it gallop wild in my forest once more.

She does this for herself, too, I assume. Good for her.

— Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Preface to Transformations by Anne Sexton, vii

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