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“Nothing genuine in a poem, or so I have learned the hard way, can be willed,” or, Charles Simic on sources of inspiration

Over at the New York Review of Books blog, Charles Simic has written a wandering, endearing post about where poets get their ideas, the way those ideas transform in the process of writing, and the “uncertain and often exasperating” work of writing a poem. The post is full of wonderful lines–the sort of aphoristic observations that, while perhaps not holding up well under real scrutiny, are nonetheless so charming well-phrased as to be worth remembering anyway. Like, “[P]oets have to do a lot of time-wasting to get to the truth.” Or, my favorite: “A poem is like a girl at a party who gets to kiss everybody.”

Which, as I’ll admit happens any time a poet uses the word “kiss,” led me back to my old favorite Robert Herrick, this time to his poem “A Kisse”":

What is a kisse? Why this, as some approve,
The sure sweet sement, glue, and lime of love.

Happy late Valentine’s Day, folks.

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