Every poem is a scene of language. It is a rite without a ceremony.
I really love you,
believe me. It is something I inherited
from my mother.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
Rhythm is a form cut into time, as Ezra Pound said […] Rhythm is all about recurrence and change. It is poetry’s way of charging the depths, hitting the fathomless. It is oceanic.
The poem is a capsule where we wrap up our punishable secrets.
William Carlos Williams
Emily Dickinson’s test of poetry:
If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know. Is there any other way.
Dickinson gave this definition in 1870 to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. I found it in Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, which I am thoroughly enjoying. You can read the first chapter, including more on the quote, online thanks to the Poetry Foundation.