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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Palace aphorisms (poetry) nos. 61-65, etc.

aphorism no. 65
The aim of poetry and story is to cast a spell that has no purpose.

aphorism no. 64
When the poem is a mirror, the face reflected is fully known but made strange.

aphorism no. 63
In a poem, the tension between the irregular and the straight is strength.

aphorism no. 62
A poet is one who must un-know.

aphorism no. 61
Let the sea into your poems—the pulse like blood beating in your ears and the far pull of the moon.

Yesterday I wrote a pantoum, revised some fiction, and then read stories and novellas and saw a movie. (I also cleaned up my run-amuck house, did laundry, did ferrying, herded children, etc.)

Thoughts along the way, or
What I do not like:

1. an air of tedious fascination
2. any novella approaching the experience of watching a Jack Smith movie for 5 hours, something that I did at 19 but wouldn’t do again
3. any story that has for its prime interest one’s ability to apply some other issue to it: as, this story about a cave man is really about the 21st century collision between bureaucracy and human loyalty or about war in a place where tribal loyalties collide with bureaucracy, etc.
4. stories lacking in feeling
5. stories where the sappiness and soap opera nature of events is controlled by deadpan, flat, and chilly narration
6. misuse of adverbs
7. an utter lack of beauty.

Just felt like getting that off my little pea brain.

I also read some wonderful stories.


Credit: The photograph of a moonrise over Mt. Diablo is courtesy of Natalie Morris of Orangevale, CA and


  1. Particularly good ones, this week, I thought...

    No 64 is my favourite: 'fully known but made strange' because I think that sums up all sorts of creativity and ties in with the 'must unknow' of 62 with 61 a good example of the craft.

  2. Hope you have a great Halloween!

    I really enjoyed your poetry aphorisms. I might have to keep going back to reread them.

  3. Clare,

    Hmm. I don't think I know a thing about aphorisms, or I might know why this week's seem "particularly good."


    Might do a few more, as I can't decide what to do next! What should I do next? Can't think farther that All Soul's and costumes, etc.

    & Both & Sundry,

    Hope you have a frivolous, faux-witchy Halloween.

  4. After some quick brain storming, my best idea: You have posted some extraordinary photographs. How about aphorisms on photography and photogs, all kinds of photography, including portraits old and new, like the ones of your family. Speaking of portraits, I posted a creepy pic of me with my accordion.

  5. Okay, I'll add that to my list-- But I still don't know if I want to do it (or anything else) next. Maybe I'm still stuck on poems.

    The galiquan accordion. Just think, if you weren't a web-wanderer and I hadn't met Howard Bahr and then your former teacher, Randy Cross, I would never be about to see a picture of you with your accordion. Strange, isn't it? Mysteries of the web.


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.