the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

gluck on poetry

Posted by rigorousm on December 1, 2014

I thought once that poems were like words inscribed in rock or caught in amber. I thought in these terms so long, so fervently, with such an investment in images of preservation and fixity, that the inaccuracies of the metaphor as description of my own experience did not occur to me until very recently. What is left out of these images is the idea of contact, and contact, of the most intimate source, is what poetry can accomplish. Poems do not endure as objects but as presences. When you read anything worth remember, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit.

— Louise Gluck, “Death and Absence,” Proofs and Theories: essays on poetry, p 128.


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