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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Read a Poem

Right up there with drama, as far as antiquity goes, is poetry.

Now, I'm not talking about the "Roses are red, violets are blue," or the "girl from Nantucket" variety.

I'm talking about the real deal.

Joseph Campbell says that poets (and artists) are the shamans of our day, intermediaries who put us in touch with something larger than ourselves.


How about this, from the beginning of William Blake's Auguries of Innocence:

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

Just pause a moment, and think about what that might mean.

This brings up another point. Orson Welles once told a friend of mine that "to read more than one poem at a sitting is an insult to the poet."

So don't read a book of poems; don't read "poetry."

Read a poem. Savor it. Chew on it. Memorize it and walk around thinking about it all day.

Then, the next day, do another one.

You'll be happier.

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