An exploration of the intricacies of a poetic life, including the experience the artfulness of objects and the desire to shake off automated routines. This collection of essays sheds light on how one’s literary inclinations can guide attention, perception and actions, explains why some words stick, and, satisfies the reader’s pursuit of revelations, settling for a moment of modest epiphany.
A friend recently asked me what it meant to see, perceive, live poetically. She had recently stumbled upon Viktor Shklovksy and taken quite an interest in the things he had to say about defamiliarization, of the shaking things up in our lives to see them once again as they are.
Sometimes words stick. Read enough and the most innocuous and well-trodden of words can suddenly harl onto an older, wispier network of voices imbedded deep in our minds. J.H. Prynne’s Al Dente (2014) has for its epigraph, all in italics, the inobtrusive phrase: “O summer’s day”. As a dear friend pointed out to me, Prynne was actually alluding quietly to both Dickinson and Shakespeare.