16 December 2012

excerpt from a letter

"[...] I must disagree with you that one does not turn to modern poets and/or poetry for theory. That the merits of poetry are in its craft rather than in its philosophy, and that a poet can “fail” at being a poet while succeeding at being a philosopher. A poet and a philosopher are two sides of the same coin, one cannot fail to be one and succeed at being the other. A poem approached merely by its “rules and traditions and the like” is dead. It is a flat surface, a mathematical equation with no lifeblood. This approach is born of the “fear of poetry” which Muriel Rukeyser talks about. We feel that if we can approach poetry in a cold, detached, and scientific manner it won’t threaten us quite so much. Perhaps this is true, but it does a major disservice to poetry and to ourselves. We are capable of being “amateur philosophers” and it is that capability which poetry seeks to bring out in each of us. The ability to question on a philosophical level is desperately needed in times like ours… and poetry is the mechanism though which we can begin to do this… if we will allow it."