Letter to Minturn About His Poems
Dear Brian: I've read these poems
with a covetous jealousy
that has nagged at me all week.
If you don't publish these things
I plan to steal at lest four images
and probably seven whole lines.
You asked for advice: I say write
until your bones ache. The only
real difference between a writer
and a nonwriter is that writers
write and nonwriters talk about it.
If the mind's work remains invisible
as wind, how shall we understand
our toes? Thinking would be less
dangerous if thoughts could be seen
clearly as a bridge or thumbtacks.
But to be pedantic, let me warn
you about long lines. They can sag
in the middle if you're not careful.
Watch your step with adjectives.
They can clutter a good line
with so much debris, your readers
will get lost along the way.
Don't be afraid to move in and out
of the dream state. Words become
elastic when we dream. Plant seeds
but remember that weeds often bloom
better than anything we try to sow.
Lastly, if you must have muses, learn
to dance without stepping on their feet.
Letter to Ranek Living in the Land of the Short Sun
Dear Jason: I have finally had time to read through
the last collection you sent for consideration. It is easy
to see how living in the land of the short sun has helped
you capture other forms of light with nothing more than
a few dark marks on paper. These poems remind me of
how social the literary arts can be. So many dedications,
so many poems spun from the bone and marrow of old
friends and the new lives you and Terese are setting out
into the universe to find ways of fending on their own.
I am taken by all the God and journey poems in this group
too. The question poems are among the best I have read
anywhere - and if you recall - my personal library of poets
and poems is the best in town. Nothing and everything
seems hidden in these poems. They prove that none of our
genes must trek through space, matter and time alone - but
without some solitary downtime we can't plug into enough
of the process to feel ourselves pulled toward its center.
These are poems that know how to revive drowned moons
and have peaceful last encounters with one's enemies. I am
writing to tell you we are going to gather them together,
even that little three-line number toward the end of the book.
What the hell. If a collection of poems can celebrate Thor
and Buddha without falling apart, why should it surprise
us to find the sonnet and the haiku nestled so close together?