The Prompter Room

For Friday, January 18, 2019:

 

For those who don’t know, beloved poet Mary Oliver passed from this mortal plane on January 17th from lymphoma.  She will be missed, but at least we have her words still.  Let’s honor her, her life, her words by taking walks among the oaks and beeches, on the beach, along the edges of a pond, by listening to a grasshopper and a bear and the deer, singing with a mockingbird, whispering to the geese as they fly to heaven.

 

… When it’s over, I want to say all my life/I was a bride married to amazement …

Mary Oliver (1935-2019), ‘When Death Comes’

 

For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, some-thing as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry.

Mary Oliver

 

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The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, January 15. 2019:

 

The world is full of poetry.  The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.

James Gates Percival (h/t BJ)

The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 14, 2018:

 

The Tao Te Ching is partly in prose, partly in verse; but as we define poetry now, not by rhyme and meter but as a patterned intensity of language, the whole thing is poetry. I wanted to catch that poetry, its terse, strange beauty. Most translations have caught meanings in their net, but prosily, letting the beauty slip through. And in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is the meaning. It is the truth.

Ursula K. Le Guin, A BOOK ABOUT THE WAY AND THE POWER OF THE WAY, on the legacy of Lao Tzu’s TAO TE CHING

 

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, July 3, 2018:

 

… When I’m sitting down to write a poem I’m not thinking of anyone. I’m not thinking about how it will be received. I’m not thinking it will make people happy or it will inspire them. I’m in a whole other world. A world of complete solitude. But when I’m writing a song I imagine performing it. I imagine giving it. It’s a different aspect of communication. It’s for the people.

Patti Smith – interview for More Songwriters on Songwriting at BrainPickings.org

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, April 17, 2018:

 

Science describes accurately from outside, poetry describes accurately from inside. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe. We need the languages of both science and poetry to save us from merely stockpiling endless “information” that fails to inform our ignorance or our irresponsibility.

Ursula LeGuin, LATE IN THE DAY

 

The Prompter Room

For Friday, April 6, 2018:

 

If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week, for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

Charles Darwin (h/t to JB via YD)

The Prompter Room

For January 2, 2018:

 

Poetry is a constructed conversation on the frontier of dreaming. It is a mechanism by which the essential state of reverie can be made available to our conscious minds. By means of the poem, we can enter this state of reverie with all our faculties alert and intact. Poems make possible a conscious entry into the preconscious mind, a lucid dreaming.

Poems are there, waiting, whenever we feel we need our minds to think in a different way. We can go into the poem whenever we like, as many times as we want, with full alertness. We can be aware of reverie while it is happening, and can hold on to that experience in the poem. Reading the poem allows us to achieve, consciously, a particular kind of very precious awareness.

Matthew Zapruder, WHY POETRY, excerpted in the essay ‘Unlocking the Unconscious Through Poetry’ in The Paris Review, August 14, 2017