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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You Owe Reality Nothing - Yellow Grain Elevators

"Dead Beaters, I suspect that the true or valid triggering subject ( Foolish Like A Trout) is one in which physical characteristics or details correspond to attitudes in the poet has toward the world and himself. For me, a small town that has seen better days often works. Contrary to what reviewers and critics say about my work, I know almost nothing of substance about the places that trigger my poems. Knowing can be a limiting thing. If the population of a town is nineteen but the poem needs the sound seventeen, seventeen is easier to say if you don't know the population. Guessing leaves you more options. Often, a place that starts a poem for me is one I have only glimpsed while passing through. It should make impression enough that I can see things in the town--the water tower, the bank, the last movie announced on the marquee before the theater shut down for good, the hotel closed long after I have left--imagined things I find if I go back, but real or imagined, they act as a set of stable knowns that sit outside the poem. They and the town serve as a base of operations for the poem. Sometimes they serve as a stage setting. I would never try to locate a serious poem in a place where physical evidence suggests that the people there find it relatively easy to accept themselves--say the new Hilton. The poet's relation to the triggering subject should never be as strong as (must be weaker than) his relation to his words. The words should not serve the subject. The subject should serve the words. This may mean violating the facts. For example, if the poem needs the word "black" at some point and the grain elevator is yellow, the grain elevator may have to be black in the poem. You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything."

"Dick, can I have my blog back please?..."

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