Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Writers' Residence, Last Week, Day Two

Three of the other writers here at Lavigny are poets. I almost never write poetry, but listening to them read their work I often feel a longing for the economy of their genre, the perfection of their lines.

Novels are full of clutter: closets, curtains, cupboards. Calendars. Clocks. Novelists are always worried about the clock: what day is it? how much time has passed? is it winter yet? Poems don't need clocks.

Novelists are hoarders. They never want to throw anything out in case they need it later. Poets throw most everything out. If the plastic iced tea jug with sunflowers from 1974 requires matching glasses and a backstory, they expect you to bring your own.  

Novelists are liars. They want to tell you things but they don't want to tell you why they are telling you because that would spoil the trick, the scene, the light, so they create elaborate deceptions and then hide behind the curtain. Poets just point. 

Novelists mostly add. Poets mostly subtract.

Novelists can afford to be reckless. Poets can afford to be brief. 

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