Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.
– Interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, “Beyond the Big Bang”, The Universe, The History Channel, 2007
The father of Western logic, Socrates, claimed that he had only one real talent: to recognize at once the lover and the beloved…
Maybe the so-called contemporary indifference to poetry is nothing more than dread, dread that poetry is so penetrated by silence.
– “The Nymph Stick Insect”, The Measured Word, 43
…poetry, for all the use it makes of emotion, is the way we come to know the thing itself, the simple undeniable fact of existence, of existence in all its manifold particularity…
– “The Two Cultures”, The Measured Word, 31
Poetry doesn’t compete, Louis Zukofsky asserted; it is added to like science.
– “The Nymph Stick Insect”, The Measured Word, 38
The Friend, Does a drop
stay still in the Ocean?
Move with the Entirety,
and with the tiniest particular.
Be the moisture in an oyster
that helps to form one pearl.
– “1022” (14-19), Like This
When I press my hand to my chest,
it is Your Chest.
And now You’re scratching my head!
Sometimes you put me in the herd
with Your other camels.
– “543” (1-5), Like This
One day when the planet was idly
pressing stegosaurs in her scrapbook
she threw out a whole plateau
you get distracted, you put down that scribbled
fossilized note about Martian microbes
and once you set a tectonic plate on top of it,
you may never find it again…
– “Mount Clutter”, (1-4, 8-11)
She drifted along his side and touched his face,
then felt the wind lift her arms,
wind under her hair, in her mouth.
“Dear love,” said her mouths
that were also her hands and hair
shaken out by the wind.
She bowed, he bowed,
they began forming rings for each other.
– “Turn Us into Trees”, (33-40)
Poetry is not just about language, though language is its medium. Poetry’s true subject is the spirit, the divine, the sacred, the ineffable. If you prefer God, use that word. It’s just a word, though one that’s loaded with baggage. And it makes poetry sound loftier than it is, since by God and the sacred I mean everything, the “what is” of life. [and from the previous paragraph] If you believe there is nothing beyond the body, you probably still have a sense of what I’m talking about. (100)
All poems are seductions. When you fall under the spell of a poem, it’s an infatuation that can become a love affair. A poem wants you to feel like this; it doesn’t feel complete unless it makes a personal connection. (115)
– Ordinary Genius, 2009
… Wise men tried to convince me otherwise. They explained that men were made in the image of God. We must live godly lives. God never had orgasms. Neither should I. … (16)
– from “The Quest”, The Book of Orgasms, Bloodaxe edition, 2003.
Summed up, our position at the moment is that the poet must get rid of the hieratic in everything that concerns him and must move constantly in the direction of the credible. He must create his unreal out of what is real.
If we consider the nature of our experience when we are in agreement with reality, we find, for one thing, that we cease to be metaphysicians. (58)
– Necessary Angels, 1942
The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence. The philosopher thinks of the world as enormous pastiche or, as he puts it, the world is as the percipient… But the poet says that, whatever it may be, la vie est plus belle que les idées. (56)
– Necessary Angels, 1942