Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Higher

Here are a few Robert Duncan quotes, plucked from an Angle Mlinko article on poet Robert Duncan and good for the third day of Christmas. Capes and hats and amber necklaces...

I love the way Duncan raises his vocation to the highest levels. He aims at the stars; he aims at God.

As portrayed in Mlinko's description, Duncan the fluent and ecstatic lecturer reminds me of descriptions of Emerson the lecturer. For the whole article, click here.

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Duncan rejecting "workshopping": “We will be detectives not judges…. Week by week we will study . . . vowels, consonants, the structure of rime.”

Duncan on the stakes of art: “Poetry is not my stock in trade, it is my life.”

How high are those stakes? Duncan takes them higher: “In language I encounter God.”

Duncan on the poet's transformation: “To become a poet, means to be aware of creation….”

Duncan mid-lecture: "I write poetry for the fucking stars!"

Duncan on language: “Vowels the spirit, Consonants the body.”

Duncan on confessional poetry: “I loathe these personal problems that have no deep root but are all social currency—case history of a social worker. Wld. as soon attend divorce court.”

4 comments:

  1. It is a reproach to many things in our day.

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  2. So many inspirational posts, Marly!

    And a certain beautiful book was under the tree, and I'm anxiously waiting for some quiet time to sink into it after the first few pages drew me in. Every time I pick it up, the young ones interrupt...

    Happy third day of Christmas to you! ((or is it already the 4th there?)



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  3. Not yet, yawn. I'm ready for Little Marly in Slumberland, though. (Meanwhile, it's all Marly in Laundry Doom Room.)

    I'm glad you have a book! And I guess it's "Thaliad." I hope you enjoy it...

    Shall stop by later. I'm behind in everything, including my e-visits. Merry Days of Christmas, Marja-Leena!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.