Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jeffery Donaldson's Echo Soundings

An excerpt from Jeffery Donaldson's Echo Soundings: essays on poetry and poetics appeared in The Puritan (issue 26).

Read the entire excerpt here:

"I have no idea what poems are. I feel an odd double-take when I see one on the page. The way it simply assumes itself. How absurd, how extravagant. What is it doing there? Like a frog on a lily pad, blinking. Like a child it stands before you—ready, curious, expectant—without the least worry of what it means that it should be. Of course I am, say the eyes of the child. What else would I be? The innocent audacity of simply existing.

Pick up a stick from the imagined beach you are now standing on, and draw a circle with it in the sand. Now lay the stick down inside the circle. What the heck is that? I can’t figure it out. I want to protest. I want to laugh. The stick is just a stick; it existed before now, and now there it is inside a circle. Before there was nothing, and now there is a circle with a stick inside it, a shape and a content. Or take a further step; pick up another stick and lay it down somewhere else on the sand: all on its own, a shape and a content. You took a thing that was over there and you put it over here in this new place, a place that is new because a stick was put there. Poets spend their lifetime trying to get it right just once, laying the stick down in the sand, just so."

The book can be pre-ordered here: