Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Amnesia & Things Worth Remembering

"Once a poem is resolved, I lose the sense of having written it. I remember the circumstances, but not the sensations, not what it felt like to be writing. This amnesia is most immediate and most complete when poems are written quickly, but in all cases it occurs. Between poems I am not a poet, only someone with a yearning to achieve--what? That concentration again."


"When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit.

"I read poems to hear that voice. And I write to speak to those I have heard."

(Louise Gluck, "Death and Absence" from Proofs and Theories, The Ecco Press, 1994)


I'm just finishing reading Proofs and Theories and have connected with it in many ways. I would recommend it, whether you enjoy literary criticism or not. Gluck has so many important things to say.


ds said...

I like Gluck very much - she has been a great influence to me. it seems like most folks think her later stuff is finer, but I like the rawness of the early work. but I have trouble reading criticism. even Eliot or Coleridge or whoever. I could never get into it. Updike said something to the effect of creative writing is like sailing in the ocean and criticism is like hugging the shore. something to that effect. this is the only thing I've ever read by Updike that I like.

Charmi said...

I think reading criticism is just another way of having a conversation with a poet, and of course, if it's a poet I like, I want to have that conversation.