Friday, November 16, 2012

Potent Quotables

After the passing of poet Jack Gilbert, my friend Jessica wrote a beautiful tribute to him on her blog, and mentioned that his Paris Review interview was one of her favorites. Intrigued, I read it myself, and it's full of wisdom and just the kind of love we should wish from great artists.  Here is my favorite quote:

"I think serious poems should make something happen that’s not correct or entertaining or clever. I want something that matters to my heart, and I don’t mean “Linda left me.” I don’t want that. I’ll write that poem, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about being in danger—as we all are—of dying. How can you spend your life on games or intricately accomplished things? And politics? Politics is fine. There’s a place to care for the injustice of the world, but that’s not what the poem is about. The poem is about the heart. Not the heart as in “I’m in love” or “my girl cheated on me”—I mean the conscious heart, the fact that we are the only things in the entire universe that know true consciousness. We’re the only things—leaving religion out of it—we’re the only things in the world that know spring is coming." --Jack Gilbert
We are also the only things in the entire universe who know winter is coming.


  1. "The hard part for me is to find the poem—a poem that matters. To find what the poem knows that’s special. I may think of writing about the same thing that everyone does, but I really like to write a poem that hasn’t been written. And I don’t mean its shape. I want to experience or discover ways of feeling that are fresh. I love it when I have perceived something fresh about being human and being happy.
    Ezra Pound said “make it new.” The great tragedy of that saying is he left out the essential word. It should be make it importantly new. So much of the time people are just aiming for novelty, surprise. I like to think that I’ve understood, that I’ve learned about something that matters—what the world should be, what life should be."

    thanks for sharing that.


  2. I'm glad that you enjoyed it, Scott! One of the most inspiring ars poetica I've read in some time.

    1. absolutely. i've been in need of some artistic direction/inspiration recently, and this was a big help. i hope your writing is going well!

    2. Thanks, Scott, and likewise in your own endeavors!