Our fiction casually adjusted to accommodate the blast, even if we thought we were writing far from the blast, we were, indeed, not writing about the blast at all. The world had already been absurd, to those paying attention to the unending reported and even more unreported brutalities around the globe; perhaps the world is just more likely to look different as a multiracial child from a former European colony, where the scars of colonialism never fully heal, even if, like me, you grew up after independence. But now, perhaps, a new generation of writers would be unable to avoid the instability, the absurdity, of the post-9/11 world.
Maybe this is Murakami’s chthonic insight: that the dark underground, where the bad things wait […] is not that deep down. The underground can’t stay buried. Reality A and B are indeed different—but like parallel train tracks in his fiction, they would inevitably crash. Perhaps Reality A—9/11—was inevitable; had it not happened then, it would have happened soon enough.
Truthfulness to life—both fantasy life and factual life—is the basis of all great art.
Every poem is a scene of language. It is a rite without a ceremony.
Authors are actors, books are theaters
Reading is complicity in the creative process.
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.