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Friday, June 1, 2018

Virtuosity with language is not enough

Virtuosity with language by itself is not enough for poetry. A poem has to sustain a strong connection to the suffered world, and any intelligence that dares call itself poetic needs to be penetrated and informed by the life of the emotions. The ego must be breached by the fire and flood damage of experience. At the same time, plaintive wailing will not suffice. Successful poems have grace and vivacity - sometimes even power - of language, mobility of mind, and I think not a straight­faced, deadpan earnestness, but a brave freedom of feeling. - Tony Hoagland