Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Robert Bly

The automated and flawless machine

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Our recent poetry is…a poetry in which the poem is considered to be a construction independent of the poet. It is imagined that when the poet says “I” in a poem he does not mean himself, but rather some other person—”the poet”—a dramatic hero. The poem is conceived as a clock which one sets going. The idea encourages the poet to construct automated and flawless machines. Such poems have thousands of intricately moving parts, dozens of iambic belts and pulleys, precision trippers that rhyme at the right moment, lights flashing alternately red and green, steam valves that whistle like birds. This is the admired poem…The great poets of this century have written their poems in exactly the opposite way.

Robert Bly, “A Wrong Turning in American Poetry”

Written by nevalalee

December 23, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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Robert Bly

It takes a young poet ten years or so, I think, to develop the image well, perhaps five more to grasp the idea of spoken language and embody it, perhaps five or ten more to make the changes that will lead to weight. I don’t think the order of the labors is important. Some poets may be given one power as a gift, and have to work on the others, or may work on all three simultaneously, or begin with some power not mentioned. The whole process seems to take an American poet twenty or twenty-five years; some European poets go through it more quickly.

Robert Bly, “What the Image Can Do”

Written by nevalalee

June 17, 2016 at 7:30 am

Following the thread

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William Stafford

[Bill Stafford’s] feeling was that you take the first thing that’s happened to you during the day—whether it is someone jogging past the house or something you think of—and that’s the thread you start with, then you try to follow that thread. He had this wonderful quatrain from Blake:

I give you the end of a golden string,
     Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate
     Built in Jerusalem’s wall.

Stafford believed that a thread well-followed, gently, will lead you to the center of the universe. In that place where there is no difference between night and day and no difference between men and women, no difference between good and evil—in that place. He called it following the thread. I love that process very much. You can simply begin with a story.

Robert Bly, to Bill Moyers in The Language of Life

Written by nevalalee

December 10, 2015 at 7:30 am

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