Owl

January 1, 2020

last night at the joint of dawn,
an owl’s call opened the darkness

miles away, more than a world beyond this room

and immediately I was in the woods again,
poised, seeing my eyes seen,
hearing my listening heard

under a huge tree improvised by fear

dead brush falling then a star
straight through to God
founded and fixed the wood

then out, until it touched the town’s lights,
an owl elsewhere swelled and questioned
twice, like you light lean and strike
two matches in the wind.

Alice Oswald

how you revise

January 1, 2020

My sense of a poem — my notion of how you revise — is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote. You just read it as a piece, as someone else might read it, and you see where it’s alive. If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn’t carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it’s not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem.

Philip Levine
Interview with J.M. Spalding and Guy Shahar for The Cortland Review – Issue Seven – May 1999

changed several times

January 1, 2020

I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.

Lewis Carroll
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

May your biggest problem in 2020 be where to stack your new books.

P