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Friday, September 02, 2011

Preparing for Silence after the Poetry Fest!

In case you're wondering what to do after the Poetry Fest is over, take a hint from Phillip Levine who, at 83, has recently been elected as Poet Laureate of USA. He's long been a favourite of mine (I have a few, don't I) but most of the poems I know of his have been about workingclass men and their lives. Here's a nod to 'silence'.


His late poems are full of that tenderness and also of a Hardyesque humbleness in which, while still enthralled by poetry, he hesitates to make too great claims for it. A 1999 poem by Mr. Levine is called “He Would Never Use One Word Where None Would Do” and ends:

Fact is, silence is the perfect water:
unlike rain it falls from no clouds
to wash our minds, to ease our tired eyes,
to give heart to the thin blades of grass
fighting through the concrete for even air
dirtied by our endless stream of words.


Lovely. Fact is, silence is the perfect water to wash away any over-indulgence in poetry during the 2011 WA Spring Poetry Festival. It's not over yet, I know, but you have to prepare for separation!

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