The Schmooze

The Poet's Trance and the Biblical Eve

Crossposted from The Best American Poetry, where poet Eve Grubin is guest blogging this week. Read Grubin’s poetry on The Arty Semite here.

Last week, C.K. Williams gave the annual Poetry Society lecture in London where he quoted Goethe who said (this is paraphrased — Williams said the words quickly, and I scribbled down what I could): “The poet’s trance is the most eloquent armour in his armoury.”

I have been thinking about the poet’s trance — that room we enter (or room that enters us) in the middle of, or just before, writing a poem: a necessary space fusing silence and music, detachment and emotion, calm and energy. It’s a room of stirring clarity and peaceful vitality. The Goethe quote is not unlike Wordsworth’s “Poetry is emotion recollected in tranquillity.”

It’s a state that poets wait for, long for. We fear it will not come.

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The Poet's Trance and the Biblical Eve

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