The Weather of Words

Mark Strand

Mark Strand

books“I is for immortality, which for some poets is a necessary compensation. Presumably miserable in this life, they will be remembered when the rest of us are long forgotten. None of them asks about the quality of that remembrance–what it will be like to crouch in the dim hallways of somebody’s mind until the moment of recollection occurs, or to be lifted off suddenly and forever into the pastures of obscurity.

“Most poets know better than to concern themselves with such things. They know the chances are better than good that their poems will die when they do and never be heard of again, that they’ll be replaced by poems sporting a new look in a language more current. They also know that even if individual poems die, though in some cases slowly, poetry will continue: that its subjects, it constant themes, are less liable to change than fashions in language, and that this is where an alternate, less lustrous immortality might be.

“We all know that a poem can influence other poems, remain alive in them, just as previous poems are alive in it. Could we not say, therefore, that individual poems succeed most by encouraging revisions of themselves and inducing their own erasure? Yes, but is this immortality, or simply a purposeful way of being dead?” The Weather of Words: Poetic Inventions by Mark Strand (b. 1934, Canada), American poet and essayist, Poet Laureate Consult in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1990-1991), Pulitzer Prize (1999) for Blizzard of One,  Gold Medal in Poetry (2009), American Academy of Arts and Letters.

A little something provocative this Sunday.

. . . and thus we begin another week . . .

Photo credit ~ SlowKing via Wikipedia and under the CC BY-NC

8 thoughts on “The Weather of Words

  1. I’m reading backward, as I’m catching up. Thanks for your visits and comments on my entries. The first poem I read today, and its photo– In other Words, Love– are still nesting in my heart. As a mom of a far distant son, the words resonate and make me miss him more, if that’s possible.

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    1. I often think how good-spirited you are. I know your son is out of the country, your mom is not well, and you recently lost a sister-in-law. The heart-breaks come with the joys. Such a mixed bag, this experience called life.

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  2. This post means a lot to me today, Jamie, as I continue to edit and re-edit and wonder if it’s even worth the trouble. For any effort like this, I like to tell myself that it’s worth it if the words touch only one person.. I use the same thought whenever I have to do public speaking (well, when I used to…) Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. I agree. If only one person benefits, that’s great … but then, there’s that collective consciousness to which we are always contributing, eh? Thanks for reading and commenting, Victoria. Means a lot to me. Write on … 🙂

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