I’m still thinking about not-words at the moment.  I’m also thinking “Why is Poetry so damn hard to write?”, but that’s another story.  In my circuitous route towards actually writing some more of the poem, I found these two writers concurring on the relationship between the poem and the white space around it – aka the silence.

…the words chipping into the silence.  it felt loud.  Every word stood out.  No longer the rush of sentences free and unresisting into the air. (She is contrasting a reading by a prose writer with that of a poet)  Now it was words into an element that was crushing in its power and weight.

(Jorie Graham, 1990, Introduction to Best American Poets, downloaded from here, on 26.08.08)

Silence is the poet’s ground…invoked and symbolized by the white page (Don Paterson, 2007, “The Lyric Principle: The Sense of Sound” in Poetry Review, 97:2, p. 62.)

Silence is the acoustic space in which the poem makes its large echoes… (op. cit.,, p. 63)

Our poems were won from silence… (ibid)

Maybe I’ll be able to carry on if I calm down a bit, start listening to the echoes the phrases are making in my head?  This is a technique my friend and fellow poet, Jemma Borg, swears by.  And Pascale Petit has said somewhere that she writes in silence, with ear plugs.

Meanwhile, loud clattering from the kitchen warns me that dinner is imminent.


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