“On those evenings when I need to fall in love with my life again, I step out the door, down the front steps, and past the iron gate that surrounds our town house. For emphasis, I slam the gate and listen for the clang that reverberates, travelling down each iron post.
I’m outside my life now, a visitor at the gate.”
– Rebecca McClanahan, Word Painting
(Writers Digest Books, 2000)
May 2010 bring you everything you need and may you look at life with new eyes.
“we fall asleep
with one hand under our head
and with the other in a mound of planets”
– Zbigniew Herbert
from ‘I Would Like to Describe’ by Zbigniew Herbert,
The Collected Poems 1956 – 1998 (Ecco, 2007)
“Poems, like dreams, have a visible subject and an invisible one. The invisible one is the one you can’t choose, the one that writes itself.”
– Alice Oswald, Get Writing, 2004
“Writing poems is a bit like panning for gold. You have to be prepared to sit for a long while in the cold murk of the river-bed and grow heavy with alluvial dust for the sake of the gold it contains.”
– Julia Copus, New Blood (Bloodaxe Books, 1999)
“A good poem takes something you probably already know as a human being and somehow raises your capacity to feel it to a higher degree. It allows you to know your experience more intensely. When you meet your life in a great poem, it becomes expanded, extended, clarified, magnified, deepened in colour, deepened in feeling.”
– Jane Hirshfield
“I am a wind-swayed bridge, a crossroads inhabited by whirlwinds … You say my name is ambivalence? Think of me as Shiva, a many-armed and legged body with one foot on brown soil, one on white, one in straight society, one in the gay world, the man’s world, the women’s, one limb in the literary world, another in the working class, the socialist, and the occult worlds. A sort of spider woman hanging by one thin strand of web.
Who, me confused? Ambivalent? Not so. Only your labels split me.”
– Gloria Anzaldúa, from ‘La Prieta’
“The woman who confesses is frequently read as testifying only to her anguish and her own “weakness”; she is simply revealing the awfulness of femininity which was known to be there all along, and which, in the most simplistic terms has led to her oppression in the first place. And it is here that we see the exact nature of the problem: for if the woman poet does remain silent, if the awfulness of her confessional truth is such that it will only oppress her further, she is left where she started and cannot speak at all. Alternatively, she can speak a version of self which also confirms a certain kind of femininity – that of beauty, passivity, orderliness and self-control – but which nevertheless fails to “tell it like it is”.”
– Deryn Rees-Jones, Consorting with Angels: Essays on Modern Women Poets (Bloodaxe, 2005)
Read more about Deryn Rees-Jones, Consorting with Angels and Modern Women Poets, the companion anthology to Consorting with Angels.
” … Keep at a tangent.
When they make the circle wide, it’s time to swim
out on your own and fill the element
with signatures on your own frequency,
echo-soundings, searches, probes, allurements,
elver gleams in the dark of the whole sea.”
– Seamus Heaney, from ‘Station Island’
“The first demand any work of art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (There is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out.)”
– C S Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism
“An act of will that changed my life from that of a frustrated artist, waiting to have a room of my own and an independent income before getting down to business, to that of a working writer: I decided to get up two hours before my usual time, to set my alarm for 5:00 A.M. … Since that first morning in 1978 when I rose in the dark to find myself in a room of my own – with two hours belonging only to me ahead of me, two prime hours when my mind was still filtering my dreams – I have not made or accepted too many excuses for not writing. This apparently ordinary choice, to get up early and to work every day, forced me to come to terms with the discipline of art.”
– Judith Ortiz Cofer, ‘5.00 A.M.: Writing as Ritual’