Thursday, 28 May 2020

Rory Waterman : part two

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

Well, a poem can’t be a protest song: the best poems have a tension at their heart, not a simple answer. It can’t depict something in the same way a painting can. It can’t unfold like a novel – unless, of course, it is a novel in verse, and most of those are awful. It can’t affect you directly, on a sub-linguistic level, in the same way music can. But it is the finest, most fine-tuned explicatory art, or so says me – which is also partially why poems are so hard to write well (even though they’re very easy to write badly). Unlike almost any other art, most poems – all the shorter ones, at least – can be memorised. If you memorise a poem, you have it whole, always, wherever you are – the real thing, not the memory of it, or an inferior facsimile. That’s powerful.

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