Friday, August 18, 2006

Looked at one way, idea preceded its embodiment; looked at another, particulars preceded induction. Neither process excludes the other here, because the process of writing a poem is something more comprehensive than either, and I think -- in all seriousness and not as a mere playful metaphor -- it is also connected with the processes of magic. It is a reaching out into the unexplained areas of the mind, in which the air is too thickly primitive or too fine for us to live continually. From that reaching I bring back loot, and don't always know at first what that loot is, except that I hope that it is of value as an understanding or as a talisman, or more likely as a combination of the two, of both rational power and irrational.

Thom Gunn 'Writing a Poem' (1973)


At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love reading quotes from spectacular minds about their thoughts on creating poetry. i don't know if i recover loot when i go exploring - more like fools gold.

At 1:26 AM, Blogger richard lopez said...

hey walt, me too, sometimes what i find is fools gold-plated.

gunn is long a favorite poet of mine. an example on how to develop longevity in art, and in living, without forgoing the wildness. he did finally succumb to his excesses, and he was rather paradoxically sane while in the throes of his excesses, sexually and chemically as i understand it, he did at the rather advanced age of 73.


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