Poetry is

I started reading Thinking and Singing edited by Tim Lilburn, one of the poets I saw read on Monday. His writing is extremely dense. I really liked the following quote:

Poetry and long talk: oddly, in effect, the two appear equivalent: both are beckoning ways in; both are maieutic, lifting to the tongue latent things, lit things no one planned to say. Neither, it seems, fully trusts its elder brother, systematic though; each will upend it; sometimes, however, poetry or dialectic will use system to draw what needs saying further along. It can seem with such talk that the conversation itself often is doing the thinking, the speakers contributing simply their confusion, their pressing to know, each listening for where the talk wants to go, attempting to “hear” the watercourse it’s found. Many poets say that poetry, too, is largely listening, that what is wanted is a kind of negative attention, an alert emptiness …
–taken from Tim Lilburn’s preface to Thinking and Singing: Poetry and the Practice of Philosophy

“Largely listening” and “alert emptiness”. Wow. Apt.

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