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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stanley Kunitz (1905 - 2006) RIP

Stanley Kunitz died on Sunday, aged one hundred. I won't give you all the life story and the eulogies from the major papers - you can easily google them - but here are some quotes from Stanley Kunitz in a Paris Review interview to celebrate the life of a great modern poet:

“A poem has secrets that the poet knows nothing of.”

“From the beginning I was a subjective poet in contradiction to the dogma propounded by Eliot and his disciples that objectivity, impersonality, was the goal of art.”

“I want the energy to be concentrated in my nouns and verbs...”

“The poem in the head is always perfect. Resistance starts when you try to convert it to language.”

“Unless craft is second nature, it means nothing. Craft can point the way... but it's not to be confused with an art of transformation, the magical performance.”

“Bob Dylan couldn't have existed if Dylan Thomas hadn't existed before him.”

“Often a poem is a dream, but I don't necessarily say it is.”

“I've tried to squeeze the water out of my poems.”

“I like to use a word in a poem with its whole history dragging like a chain behind it. And then we go over the sound.”

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