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‘Making Poetry’

Angela Leighton
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

‘You have to inhabit poetry

if you want to make it.’

And what's ‘to inhabit’?

To be in the habit of, to wear

words, sitting in the plainest light,

in the silk of morning, in the shoe of night;

a feeling bare and frondish in surprising air;

familiar … rare.

And what's ‘to make’?

To be and to become words' passing

weather; to serve a girl on terrible

terms, embark on voyages over voices,

evade the ego-hill, the misery-well,

the siren hiss of publish, success, publish,

success, success, success.

And why inhabit, make, inherit poetry?

Oh, it's the shared comedy of the worst

blessed; the sound leading the hand;

a wordlife running from mind to mind

through the washed rooms of the simple senses;

one of those haunted, undefendable, unpoetic

crosses we have to find.

Type
Chapter
Information
Voyages over Voices
Critical Essays on Anne Stevenson
, pp. 1 - 2
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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