Sunday, March 16, 2003

John, believe it or not, Keats

Two or three posies
With two or three simples --
Two or three noses
With two or three pimples --
Two or three wise men
And two or three ninnies --
Two or three purses
And two or three guineas --
Two or three raps
At two or three doors --
Two or three naps
Of two or three hours --
Two or three cats
And two or three mice --
Two or three sprats
At a very great price --
Two or three sandies
And two or three tabbies --
Two or three dandies
And two Mrs Abbeys --
Two or three smiles
And two or three frowns --
Two or three miles
To two or three towns --
Two or three pegs
For two or three bonnets --
Two or three dove's eggs
To hatch into sonnets.
an excerpt

                    Your poetry, if possible, should be extended
Somewhat beyond your experience, while still remaining true to it;
Unconscious material should play a luscious part
In what you write, since without the unconscious part
You know very little; and your plainest statements should be
Even better than plain. A reader should put your work down puzzled,
Distressed, and illuminated, ready to believe
It is curious to be alive.

-- Kenneth Koch, from "The Art of Poetry"