poetry

Mental health is certainly not a necessity

“To write a poem, perfect physical condition
is desirable but not necessary. Keats wrote
in poor health, as did D.H. Lawrence. A combination
of disease and old age is an impediment to writing, but
Neither is, alone, unless there is arteriosclerosis–that is,
Hardening of the arteries–but that we shall count as a disease
Accompanying old age and therefore a negative condition.
Mental health is certainly not a necessity for the
Creation of poetic beauty, but a degree of it
Would seem to be, except in rare cases…”

– Kenneth Koch, “The Art of Poetry,” which I have in his collection, The Art of Poetry. It has some essays, but also parodies, interviews, and long poems with discursive subjects. I read this for the first time last year, at my advisor’s suggestion, and loved it. I’m going to, if I keep to it, post pieces of “The Art of Poetry” up here till I finish it.

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