Thursday, January 03, 2008

A celebration of itself and all creation . . .

This is a paragraph that I read the other day from "Kenneth Koch's Seasons on Earth," an article following Koch's death in 2002. I thought it was beautiful and I wanted to share it.
That is one of the things that Koch — who died on July 6, succumbing to the leukemia he had fought for a year — had figured out for himself and his students long ago: Anger is useless, but you can transmute it into something beautiful or charming or funny or true. Not that therapy is the primary goal; it is just a beneficial byproduct of the process. The primary goal is poetry, which can be written anywhere, by anyone, and is properly understood as a celebration of itself and all creation. Poetry was what happened when you liberated the imagination. Poetry was joy, and what’s more — and contrary to some highly publicized cases of suicidal, despondent or deranged poets — you didn’t need to be in agony in order to write it, and you didn’t need to show a solemn face to the world.

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