The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, June 6, 2017:

 

Nothing else does quite as much [as imagination] for most people, not even the other arts.  We are a wordy species.  Words are the wings both intellect and imagination fly on.  Music, dance, visual arts, crafts of all kinds, all are central to human development and well-being, and no art or skill is ever useless learning; but to train the mind to take off from immediate reality and return to it with new understanding and new strength, nothing quite equals poem and story.

Ursula LeGuin

WORDS ARE MY MATTER: WRITINGS ABOUT LIFE AND BOOKS, 2000-2016, WITH A JOURNAL OF A WRITER’S WEEK

 

 

The Prompter Room

For Friday, May 12, 2017:

 

A poem or story consciously written to address a problem or bring about a specific result, no matter how powerful or beneficent, has abdicated its first duty and privilege, its responsibility to itself.  Its primary job is simply to find the words that give it its right, true shape.  That shape is its beauty and its truth …

Art reveals something beyond the message.  A story or poem may reveal truths to me as I write it.  I don’t put them there.  I find them in the story as I work.

Ursula Le Guin

WORDS ARE MY MATTER: WRITINGS ABOUT LIFE AND BOOKS, 2000-2016

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, January 3, 2017:

 

… [F]irst and foremost, I learned from [Walt] Whitman that the poem is a temple – or a green field- a place to enter, and in which to feel.  Only in a secondary way is it an intellectual thing – an artifact, a moment of seemly and robust wordiness – wonderful as that part of it is.  I learned that the poem was made not just to exist, to speak – to be company.  It was everything that was needed, when everything was needed …

Mary Oliver, UPSTREAM: Selected Essays

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, September 27, 2016:

[Please note that the original poem is formatted into couplets, but for some reason WordPress won’t let me follow that formatting (I tried three times).  As you read, then, allow yourself a bit of breath time after every two lines to follow Oliver’s original intent for this beautiful composition.]

 

“Fall Song,” by Mary Oliver

Another year gone, leaving everywhere

its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply

in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island

of this summer, this Now, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering

in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds

and the wanderings of water.  This

I try to remember when time’s measure

painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing

to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever

in these momentary pastures.