Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE IMPOSSIBLE INDISPENSIBILITY OF THE ARS POETICA, by HAYDEN CARRUTH



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THE IMPOSSIBLE INDISPENSIBILITY OF THE ARS POETICA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: But of course the poem is not an assertion. Do you see? When I wrote
Last Line: And gives it all to you
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets


But of course the poem is not an assertion. Do you see? When I wrote
That all my poems over the long years before I met you made you come true,
And that the poems for you since then have made you in yourself become more
true,
I did not mean that the poems created or invented you. How many have foundered
In that sargasso! No, what I have been trying to say
Is that neither of the quaint immemorial views of poetry is adequate for us.
A poem is not an expression, nor is it an object. Yet it somewhat partakes of
both. What a poem is
Is never to be known, for which I have learned to be grateful. But the aspect
in which I see my own
Is as the act of love. The poem is a gift, a bestowal.
The poem is for us what instinct is for animals, a continuing and chiefly
unthought corroboration of essence
(Though thought, ours and the animals', is still useful).
Why otherwise is the earliest always the most important, the formative? The
Iliad, the Odyssey, the Book of Genesis,
These were acts of love, I mean deeply felt gestures, which continuously bestow
upon us
What we are. And if I do not know which poem of mine
Was my earliest gift to you,
Except that it had to have been written about someone else,
Nevertheless it was the gesture accruing value to you, your essence, while you
were still a child, and thereafter
Across all these years. And see how much
Has come from that first sonnet after our loving began, the one
That was a kiss, a gift, a bestowal. This is the paradigm of fecundity. I
think the poem is not
Transparent, as some have said, nor a looking-glass, as some have also said,
Yet it has almost the quality of disappearance
In its cage of visibility. It disperses among the words. It is a fluidity, a
vapor, of love.
This, the instinctual, is what caused me to write "Do you see?" instead of
"Don't you see?" in the first line
Of this poem, this loving treatise, which is what gives away the poem
And gives it all to you.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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