from "A Poet's Alphabet"

Q is for the questionable in matters relating to poetry, lines, or images for which no precedent comes immediately to mind and whose virtues seem equally elusive.  In time, our wayward lines and images may become our greatest successes, the true signs of our authorship.  But when we are young we are slow to trust ourselves, preferring to sound like more established writers.  For that is how we make sure that what we have written is indeed poetry.  Eventually, we learn to mistrust what is patently derived, and we cultivate what we first perceived as weakness.  It is the oddity of our poems, their idiosyncrasy, their lapses into a necessary awkwardness, their ultimate frailty, that charms and satisfies.”

—Mark Strand, from “A Poet’s Alphabet” in The Weather of Words: Poetic Invention (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000)



Adullamite said...

If he's a poet, why doesn't that rhyme...?
Tell me that eh?

goatman said...

This fellow must have a bird on his shoulder.

red dirt girl said...

This is only one 'essay' of 26 - as he does the entire alphabet. All are short vignettes relating to the business of poetry. I'm sure he must have remarked upon rhyming at some point .....