Friday, November 3, 2023

Wendel Berry on poetry

 This poem really strikes home for me and where I am these days. In fact, I was contemplating similar notions earlier today, in part because I have been noticing poetry lately, which is new for me, and partly because my line of thought is moving in this direction these days.

How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)

Wendell Berry

Make a place to sit down.

Sit down. Be quiet.

You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill—more of each than you have—inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity. Any readers who like your poems, doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensioned life; stay away from screens. Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in. There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it. Of the little words that come out of the silence, like prayers prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.

—The selected poems of Wendell berry

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