Friday, May 05, 2006
I heard Gwyneth Lewis say, in a television interview, that the trick of being a poet was knowing when not to write, when to shut up. There are a lot of people around who seem to think they can write a continuous stream of poetry, but these people are not Dantes or Shakespeares; they are modern McGonagles, dressing the banal in florid words. They persist in trying to say ordinary things in an extraordinary way, but isn't poetry just the opposite: extraordinary things said in an ordinary way? Perhaps it's extraordinary things said in an extraordinary way, yes that sounds better. To be prolific to that standard requires something more than pretend genius.