Looking over my old poems, the big quatrain explosion, trying to get oriented, inspired.

Writing for me is a very elusive, elliptical thing. I think it's because I am the proud possessor of a left-handed birdbrain.

Mandelstam has repeatedly over the decades been a source of inspiration.

Last night again considering him & the Russian poets generally, struck me once more how for some poets, in some traditions, there's a clearer demarcation between poetry & other forms of writing & discourse.

The factor of song, musicality. Mandelstam liked to call it "breath" : he was fascinated with "curvature" (in smiles, in eyebrows, and especially in cupolas, domes and filled sails).

"And suddenly, an arch appears in my mumbling" [rough translation].

The musicality of the line in verse as an expression of curvature, tension. Again the affinity with architecture ("frozen music"). Maybe Mike Snider's onto something (about meter), and perhaps poetry will eventually turn back toward the distinctive, distinguishing marks of verse. (Just as an aside - fascinating comment quoted by Jonathan Mayhew - Marjorie Perloff noting Phd. candidates in English who have never read Keats or Milton.)

Brodsky's remark that his Petersburg poet-friends considered prose writers "the infantry" and poets "the air force".

[linked with the notion that harmonics is what differentiates reading (prose) from performing (verse) : AND that this has something to do with "presence" and "the present" - embodiment. The technical characteristics of verse have "epistemological & ontological" implications. these are things I've mulled over before on this blog.]

Thinking out loud here. How today, for me, poetry appears as a sort of parallel universe - due to the otherness, the strangeness, of harmony itself.

So to get going again will require going back into that parallel bird-world ("Bluejay").

I have to be in the right mood.

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