Abandoned poetry

October 15, 2010

During Pineda’s visit he quoted someone as saying that a poem is never finished, it’s only abandoned.  That struck me as extremely sad, and irresponsible, too.  I think all poets can sense when the poem they’re writing is completed.  But this quote increased my sense of responsibility.  How do we really know if a poem has been given all possible chances to speak, to explore itself?  What if we abandon it before it has grown all its limbs and organs, and can live on its own?  If we too quickly withdraw the creative force that is calling the poem into being, we leave it half-formed and its life will be a constant struggle.  We have to be sure we don’t cut the umbilical cord too soon.  All of this was going through my mind when I read the intro to the Plath collection, in which Hughes says, “…she brought every piece she worked on to some final form acceptable to her…”

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