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326 pages, Paperback
First published August 14, 2012
And I am at once struck by what a perfect example the poem is regarding metaphor as event. Metaphor as time, the time it takes for an exchange of energy to occur. Metaphor is not, and never has been, a mere literary term. It is an event. A poem must rival a physical experience and metaphor is, simply, an exchange of energy between two things. If you believe that metaphor is an event, and not just a literary term denoting comparison, then you must conclude that a certain philosophy arises: the philosophy that everything in the world is connected.
I don't know where to begin because I have nothing to say, yet I know that before too long I will sound as if I'm on a crusade.The first lecture is entitled "Poetry and the Moon" and it's a beauty. "The moon is the very image of silence," she says, then quotes Simic, "The great lunacy of most lyric poems is that they attempt to use words to convey what cannot be put into words." Which is I suppose the whole point of poems and why poets go crazy.* Toward the end of the book, Ruefle says, "I remember, on the first Tuesday of every year, that I became a poet for a single, simple reason: I liked making similes for the moon." This from a composition in the form of anaphora, which for me recalls Joe Brainard's I Remember, but for Ruefle echoes (these lectures are full of echoes) Philip Larkin's I Remember, I Remember, which concludes "Nothing, like something, happens anywhere."
Nobody wants his grave spray-painted and then vomited on…
I suppose, as a poet, among my fears can be counted the deep-seated uneasiness that one day it will be revealed that I consecrated my life to an imbecility.
April is the cruelest month.Really? With so many secrets to tell, I doubt that's The One. Later she writes, "Even a bitter poem is a small act of affirmation." (See Larkin above.)
The secret of poetry is cruelty.
In one sense, reading is a waste of time. In another sense, it is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand and one lives in a single life span, to watch the great impersonal universe at work again and again, to watch the personal psyche spar with it, to suffer affliction and weakness and injury, to die and watch those you love die, until the very dizziness of it all becomes a source of compassion for ourselves, and for the language which we alone created, without which the letter that slipped under the door could never have been written, or, once in a thousand lives — is that too much to ask? — retrieved, and read. Did I mention supreme joy?Yes, Mary, you did – on every page.