IN DISPRAISE OF POETRY

so i was tagged by barbara to post ten quotes on poetics / writing.

so here’s two poems on writing that i’ve always loved. they are from the poet Jack Gilbert.

*

IN DISPRAISE OF POETRY

When the King of Siam disliked a courtier,
he gave him a beautiful white elephant.
The miracle beast deserved such ritual
that to care for him properly meant ruin.
Yet to care for him improperly was worse.
It appears the gift could not be refused.

*

POETRY IS A KIND OF LYING

Poetry is a kind of lying,
necessarily. To profit the poet
or beauty. But also in
that truth may be told only so.

Those who, admirably, refuse
to falsify (as those who will not
risk pretensions) are excluded
from saying even so much.

Degas said he didn’t paint
what he saw, but what
would enable them to see
the thing he had.

*

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2 thoughts on “IN DISPRAISE OF POETRY

  1. i like these, craig. the poem “a brief for the defense,’ from gilbert’s latest book, is one of my favorite poems from the last few years of books.

  2. thanks for the reference lee! i havent read his new work, but maybe i’ll sneak a peek at B & N.

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