by Brenda Hillman

“But I heartily believe that the habits of mind learned from reading and engaging with poetry can counter a culture of greed, narcissism and blind destruction, and help the poetry reader to live with patience and attentiveness.  I urge you to keep a great range of poetry in your life; … Any temporary difficulties in confronting the challenges of poetry will be assuaged by the boundless possibilities of perception that poetry offers, just as, at this moment, the scratching of the fern with its black orderly seeds at the window, the squirrel building its house of twigs, and the huge national debt all provide a context.

“The constructed world exists in relation to the unknowable, endangered world.  Stevens writes, in The Necessary Angel, ‘The subject matter of poetry is not a collection of solid static objects extended into space, but the life that is lived in the scene it composes…’  You make some sense of things as if you were your own diviner of signs, as if the cracks in the oracle bone were details brought from this world to this world” (18).