poetry, quotes, writing

the literal sense

A poem is about many things and the literal sense is only one of them. The rhetorical and musical features of poetry are as intrinsic to a formal poem as its ostensible meaning, which may be little more than a coat hanger; the dazzling gown draped on that hanger may be made of quite other elements.

– Stephen Edgar, in the April 2008 issue of POETRY Magazine, on translating Anna Akhmatova

I was rereading my old POETRYs and refound this quote, which I love. The hanger business is apropos – I just cut out the unused pages from a journal I stopped writing in 2001 to avoid writing about something sad. I am binding them, by hand, to one severed limb of a plastic coat hanger, to make a new journal. I haven’t done this since I made a blank book from a make-a-book kit as a kid, and that book was so pretty I didn’t want to write in it. This one is nice and ugly and serviceable.