The Promise of Meaning
By Mark Z. Danielewski
1. Writers who do not read poetry cannot be taken seriously.
Which goes (self-evidently) for poets, (just as evidently) for novelists,
philosophers, historians and (perhaps less evidently) for jotters of laws,
judgments, appraisals, prescriptions, blogs, tweets, text messages, menus,
directions and grocery lists.
Without a slow and careful consideration of how words move, form, diminish,
connect, enact, deceive, sway, detach, destroy, allude, reattach, imply, fail,
obscure, seduce, reveal, relax, undo, hold, tease, estrange and clash, achieved
through the patient sounding out of meter and sense, the watchful measuring of
what inheres and what escapes, writers can no more know what they mean than
what they intend. They will not understand how in what they are writing they are
already written and therefore have as yet written nothing at all.
Words are just words. Poetry is something else.
Because poetry is at the heart of the matter.
Because poetry is the heart of the matter.
Because poetry depends on what we cannot do without.
Because poetry defines what we are without.
Because poetry defends why without still matters when we’re no longer around.