Adrienne Rich in “Defy the Space that Separates”:
“I believe that poems are made of words and the breathing between them: That is the medium. I believe as well that poetry isn’t language in the abstract but language as in: I want to learn your language. You need more than one language to get by in this city. To learn a language is to earn a soul. She is teaching English as a second language. It is forbidden to use that language in this workplace. A dead language is one that is no longer spoken; it can only be read.
We need poetry as living language, the core of every language, something that is still spoken, aloud or in the mind, muttered in secret, subversive, reaching around corners, crumpled into a pocket, performed to a community, read aloud to the dying, recited by heart, scratched or sprayed on a wall. That kind of language.”
I am taking a break from writing brand new blog posts over the summer.
Instead of posting new work I am giving readers the chance to read material from the archives of my blog.
In no particular order, here are twenty of my favourite posts from the last four years.
In 1991 I made the decision to teach part-time so that I could put poetry more at the centre of my life. I was still new to the game of submitting my work to magazines, but had learned enough to get by, quickly making virtual friends with far-off names like Scratch, Fatchance, The North and Smiths Knoll.
It was a heady time. The drop in my income was now challenged by a weekly list of new temptations: Bloodaxe catalogues, The Poet’s Manual and Rhyming Dictionary, subscribing to Poetry Review. Just as important was a slim red book recommended to me…
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