Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch's brew.
I look and look, / As though I could be saved simply by looking
Children know from a remarkably early age that things are being kept from them, that grown-ups participate in a world of mysteries.
I'm filled with admiration, delight, and gratitude at discovering James Lasdun's poems in A Jump Start. He has wit, speed, intelligence, a keen eye, precision, and imagination of a high order.
If the heart has its reasons, perhaps the body
Has its own lumbering sort of carnal spirit,
Felt in the tingling bruises of collision,
And known to captains as esprit de corps.
Brilliant. [Lasdun] seems to me certainly among the most gifted, vivid, and deft poets now writing in English, and far better than many who are more famous. His capacities are solidly established; his promise is nearly infinite.
There's not a good poet I know who has not at the beck and call of his memory a vast quantity of poetry that composes his mental library.
Mysteries, like the Masonic rites, are ones parents and elders are sworn not to reveal to the uninitiated, which include all children. And so we sought for signs.
It doesnt seem to me strange that children should like the macabre, the sensational, and the forbidden.
Merely to have survived is not an index of excellence.
A lot of the fun lies in trying to penetrate the mystery; and this is best done by saying over the lines to yourself again and again, till they pass through the stage of sounding like nonsense, and finally return to a full sense that had at first escaped notice.
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