Monday, April 30, 2007

I love this quote.

Sometimes something wants to be said, sometimes a way of saying wants to be used.—Paul Valéry

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From an interesting article about Valery in today's Slate:

­"By the age of 20, Ambroise-­Paul Valéry (1871–1945) was already recognized as a promising poet, but he repudiated the ambition and stayed almost silent for a full two decades. He was 40 when he was persuaded to publish his early poems . . .

"The second part of the above quotation makes explicit a trade secret that most poets would prefer were kept under wraps. The English editor and anthologist Geoffrey Grigson once said, with typical acerbity, of "notebook poets," that he could always tell when a poet had been writing down phrases and saving them up for future use." (full article here).

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Do you save up lines? I know I do.

4 comments:

Collin said...

I have several pages of lines and phrases from a variety of sources that I keep in my notebook. I'll look there and see if anything might work in a poem I'm working on, or if any the lines inspire a poem.

RJGibson said...

Yes indeedy. I keep "the cannibal file" which has widow lines, images, bits of poems that I love but didn't serve well, etc etc.

Pamela said...

Lines, images, overheard snippets of dialogue, doodles, and the occasional medical transcription blooper--you might want to check out my latest discovery in that last category. It's a doozy among doozies.

Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Absolutely. It all goes on the compost heap. Here's one I've been carrying around in my head for the past 2 weeks: "I lost my mind/ on the corner of Freedom and Democracy."