Writings on Writing:
With September 2022, I'm starting a new blog sequence, sharing a quotation on the art of writing that I've found in my readings. Here's the first, from Stanley Kunitz's The Wild Braid. There's so much to love about this book, but here's one that struck me especially:
"I kept pruning [the juniper] back, converting its battered state into an aesthetic principle, and now it has taken on a completely different shape, spreading rather than growing upright. As with the making of a poem, so much of the effort is to get rid of all the excess, and at the same time be certain you are not ridding the poem of its essence.
The danger is that you cut away the heart of the poem, and are left only with the most ordered and contained element. A certain degree of sprawl is necessary; it should feel as though there's room to maneuver, that you're not trapped in a cell. You must be very careful not to deprive the poem of its wild origin."
from "The Sentinel," p. 57
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