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poetry as honesty

Poems, like most great art, are the art of telling the truth of life just as we live it. I learned this in the work of Joy Harjo, Mary Oliver, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elizabeth Bishop, Ilya Kaminsky.

Sometimes the truth can only be fully realized, in me and in the world, as a poem. It doesn't render as richly to describe a few minutes at the park by telling you that I sat in the grass at the park and enjoyed it.

Instead, I describe how soft the spring grass was

behind my head

between my fingers

And how warm the air

on my bare arms

And how the wind gave up its secrets

only to the very tips of the treetops,

only to the redwoods who murmured among themselves

gathered in a fairy ring with branches outstretched to each other

holding each neighbor in an unseen system of roots.


And then how can anyone deny it? It's as true as I am, as you are.


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