-- Eleanor Berry, "The Free Verse Spectrum"
"I know some will say it is a mingled language. And why not so much the better, taking the best of both the other? Another will say it wanteth grammar. Nay, truly, it hath that praise that it wanteth not grammar. For grammar it might have, but it needs it not; being so easy in itself, and so void of those cumbersome differences of cases, genders, moods, and tenses, which, I think, was a piece of the Tower of Babylon’s curse, that a man should be put to school to learn his mother-tongue. But for the uttering sweetly and properly the conceits of the mind, which is the end of speech, that hath it equally with any other tongue in the world; and is particularly happy in compositions of two or three words together, near the Greek, far beyond the Latin,—which is one of the greatest beauties that can be in a language."—Sir Philip Sidney, The Defense of Poesy
"When Ezra Pound called for the "direct, objective treatment of the thing itself," he was in some sense echoing the historicism of late nineteenth-century thought. Historicism implicitly rejects systems, whether an ideological or a theological sort; and, in attempting to understand historical events without the benefit of any transcendent framework, it tacitly accepts the end of absolute value and absolutist authority as signaled by the French Revolution, Though Pound’s polemic addressed itself to eradicating the "emotional slither" he identified with late Victorian poetry, it inadvertently limited the poet almost exclusively to the ironic mode. Since mythical elements, and expressions of direct sentiment, would be curtailed by any rigorous adoption of "direct, objective treatment," the lyric poem might well lose the chief sources of its resonance. One way for the poet to render some justice to the complexity of experience is by turning to his own divided consciousness as his chief subject and presenting the consciousness directly while ironically qualifying the mind that discovers it. Or the poet might take different, fragmentary, but conflicting views inherent in an experiential situation, relate them to one another, dampening his own intentions and judgments, and energize the poem through an ironic interplay of multiple but partial "truths." Poets, especially ironic poets, became in some sense historicists of the imagination."—Charles Molesworth, The Fierce Embrace: A Study of Contemporary American Poetry
“I don't understand this talk of Coltrane being difficult to understand. What he does, for example, it to play five notes of a chord and then keep changing it around, trying to see how many different ways it can sound. It's like explaining something five different ways.”—Miles Davis
"Like many others, I grew up in an age which preached liberty and built slave camps. Consequently, reformers of all varieties terrify me. I only need to be told I'm being served a new, improved, low-fat baked ham, and I gag."—Charles Simic, The Poet’s Notebook
“Can it be said that any of these entertainments expresses the hearts and minds of the people? Some think that rap lyrics echo a prevailing disgust with life and society at the end of an era. Sentimental balladry under various names depicts the world that simple souls desire but nobody believes in. And even these two extremes of feeling might qualify as popular culture if they sounded more spontaneous, less like standardized products modified only to compete within an industry.”—Jacques Barzun, “The Tenth Muse”
“The awful thing I've noticed about Stevens that I've noticed is that everybody in English departments who hate poetry, which is just about everybody, loves Stevens. I liked Stevens a great deal more before I saw that. You get somebody you know very well just hates poetry, like some people hate baseball or French movies like I do. You know there's just a real weird hatred. Well, they always like Stevens, all of these people. And the more they hate poetry as it is in the process, the more they like Stevens. So although Stevens moves me, I've gotten more and more distrustful of him.”—Jack Spicer, from The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer
"The comprehension of a metaphor may be illustrated by one's ability to paraphrase it, but its mastery may be even better shown in one's ability to carry on with its story. For instance, if Miles Davis is the Picasso of jazz, then who is its Rembrandt? (Louis Armstrong?) Who is its Dali? (John Coltrane?) And if Miles Davis is the Picasso of jazz, did he have a blue period? A cubist period?"--Ted Cohen, "Metaphor"
"The history of scientific discovery is a history of metaphor. The inventorof the steam engine was watching a teakettle boil. The discoverer of gravitywas hit on the head by an apple; “Ah,” he thought, “the apple is like themoon.”These creative thinkers aren’t producing startlingly new ideas; theyare linking old ideas in startlingly new ways. Scientists, inventors, poets: theyare the Three Kings of Serendip from the tale that gives us the word“serendipity”—“as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries,by accident and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”"--Beth Ann Fennelly, "Various Parts of the Elephant: On Metaphor"
"The male confessional poet, in other words, even while romanticallyexploring his own psyche, observes himself as a representativespecimen with a sort of scientific exactitude. Alienated, he's neverthelessan ironic sociologist of his own alienation because he considershis analytic perspective on himself a civilized, nonnative pointof view. Lowell, describing his own mental illness with desperateintensity, is still able to note with detachment the "hackneyedspeech" and "homicidal eye" of "the kingdom of the mad," and,recalling an impassioned past, to describe his younger self with surgicalprecision as "boiled and shy / and poker - fa~ed. "~Li ke othermodern male poetes maudits, in short, he has a cool faith in his ownability to classify his own exemplary sufferings, a curious, calm confidencethat even in madness he is in some sense at the intellectualcenter of things. Can it be (at least in part) that because he's a man,he can readily picture himself as Everyman?"--Sandra Gilbert, "The Poetry of Self-Definition"
"One of Sontag’s major insights... is to suggest that a performative aphorism has the function of identifying different sites of knowledge which is gained through means other than interpretation. For example, the idea of a photograph of oneself may well constitute an epistemological site that links dreams with presence and presence with authenticity through establishing a relationship of synchronicity between the extraordinary and the banal."--Camelia Elias, "Dreaming Aphorisms"
"These kinds of metaphors—intuitive correlations between inner andouter worlds—have always exerted a powerful hold on me, and I’m not sure why. And I’m even less sure why I resist them now. There’s nothing inherently wrong with metaphor: after all, there can be something rather edifying in the way analogy articulates what previously remained nebulous. When I see the wandering tattlers—and hear their story from a man who understands these wordless creatures—they elicit the sense of a truth always known but long forgotten. When I see the pumpkin spider at her endless and repeating task, she affirms for me that what I do every day is natural, almost preordained. These creatures, and the facts Rich feeds me about them, stay in mind because the links between us feel organic; my brain grows nooks and crannies precisely to receive these articulations. For me, itseems, there is no other way to speak, no other way to think."--Brenda Miller, The Case Against Metaphor: An Apologia