The crumpled piece of paper had gotten stuck in the back corner of the cubby, wedged into a gap in the cherry veneer. I had been slowly working my way across the row of shelving, clearing out the academic residue of another sixth grade year. With a bit of wrangling the paper came loose, unfolding to reveal an old Latin quiz I had given my students months earlier. Read More
We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.
– William Butler Yeats
I was twenty when I learned what is essential about metaphors. The poet Albert Goldbarth asked his introductory class to open the bundle of photocopied poems he’d made, and directed us to a page that lay, purposefully out of time, between Wordsworth and Sappho. Upon it were twenty words by Gregory Orr:
Washing My Face
Last night’s dreams disappear.
They are like the sink draining:
a transparent rose swallowed by its stem.
In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent:
a thing is brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us…
It’s hard to guess where that pride of poets comes from,
when so often they’re put to shame by the disclosure of their frailty.
- From “Ars Poetica?” by Czeslaw Milosz
“Have you been writing lately?” I cringe a little every time I’m asked that question. There is no good answer:
Yes, I’ve been writing and no, you can’t see it; or
Yes, I have been writing but it’s all terrible; or