Sunday, June 5, 2011

Poems: "bridges whose destinations are themselves"

My mind's unshod by an infection, so I'll not get into highfalutin' talk. (Whinny, whinny.)

Instead, here's a snippet of an interview with poet Paul Muldoon, in the Paris Review.

I like his metaphors: for example, he 'builds' his poems.  The idea is that poems don't just communicate some information ('Poem X is about Y.')  They also have their own balance or otherwise; a specifically poetic play of forces.
One of the ways I’m thinking more and more these days about poetry is poetry as architecture or poetry as structural engineering. Where we take this force and that force and pit them against each other. In buildings, as in poems, there’s a tendency for that feature over there on the right-hand side to echo that feature over there on the left, and it may have to do with aesthetics, of course, but it’s more likely to have to do with pure physics. That’s to say, if you don’t have that balance then the whole thing is going to fall down. I find thinking in these ways quite useful when I’m building poems. They’re bridges. Skyscrapers. And they’re very carefully built, very slowly built. I rely on stepping out into the unknown, of course. But I’m also relying on some basic laws of physics. And maybe chemistry. 
If your poems could be called bridges, one might be tempted to ask where they are headed. 
They are bridges whose destinations are themselves.

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