“Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war . . . and art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony”

“The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar’, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged.”

“Rilke knew it is good for poets to know a lot about language, and then to genuinely and deeply take on the task of becoming innocent in relation to it again, to feel its great and complex power.”

“Poetry exhibits the purest form of defamiliarization. This is because in a poem, other tasks, such as telling a story or fully and exhaustively expressing an idea, never take priority. Therefore, it is in poetry that we see most clearly and powerfully, without any other ultimate distraction, how language can be made deliberately strange, how it becomes especially ‘a difficult, roughened, impeded language’ in order to jar us awake.”

On Form and Rhyme: 

“A poem presents itself as a kind of real-time movement of thinking, down the page, which the reader can enter and follow. This can feel like something between watching a movie and listening to someone think out loud.”

“Poetry has always been a record of the movement of the mind.”

“This is the feeling that rhyme can give us: that things are connected in ways we do not ordinarily perceive.”

“A poem can rhyme conceptually: that is, ideas that relate in some way, obvious or hidden. Through their redness, ‘rose’ and ‘fire truck’ rhyme conceptually. As do ‘deconstruction’ and ‘deep sea diving’ (Jacques Derrida and Jacques Cousteau).”

“Each poet has her own sense of beauty and connection and association in language, and the only job a poet ever has is to follow that sense, and make the true rhymes, sonic or otherwise, of poetry.”


Read Why Poetry? by Matthew Zapruder

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