world without bells

Poetry shouldn’t tell us what we already know, though of course it can revive what we think we know. A durable poet, the rarest of all birds, has a unique point of view and the gift of language to express it. The unique point of view can often come from a mental or physical deformity. Deep within us, but also on the surface, is the wounded ugly boy who has never caught an acceptable angle of himself in the mirror. A poet can have a deep sense of himself as a Quasimodo in a world without bells, or as the fine poet Czeslaw Milosz wrote:

     A feast of brief hopes, a rally of the proud,
     A tournament of hunchbacks, literature.

—Jim Harrison, “King of Pain,” review of The Pleasures of the Damned, Poems, 1951-1993 by Charles Bukowski, in The New York Times Book Review (November 25, 2007).

No comments:

Post a Comment