On Placement

“This does nothing for me.”

Useless. Useless.

Why concede anything to readers whose relationship with language is one of take and take?

Enter at will. Hurry it up, will you? Have a seat.

Three requisites for classroom and workshop:

“…we do not exert the least control over language, not as individuals or committees or academies or governments. Language, once it comes alive, behaves like an active, motile organism.” (Lewis Thomas, “Social Talk”)

*                    *                    *

Nor is one silence equal to another.

And it does not matter what you think.

This poem is not addressed to you. (Donald Justice, “Poem”)

*                    *                    *

“If I couldn’t overhear the rhythms and sounds established by the long, varied tradition of English poetry—say by Donne, Blake, Keats, Dickinson, Whitman, Frost—I would not be able to hear what I myself have to say. Poems that arise only from a shallow layer of adulterated, contemporary language are rootless. They taste to me like the mass-produced vegetables grown in chemicals for supermarkets.” (Anne Stevenson)

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