Reginald Shepherd, from his essay ‘To Make Me Who I Am (Poetry As A Way Out)’ from the Jan / Feb 2008 issue of Poets & Writers.

“It was his way of reminding me that art is the lie that tells the truth, and that the truth art tells need not be about oneself. While “honesty” might make the writer feel good about himself, it is beside the point in a poem.”

“Poetry was a species of redemption of self and world, an enterprise not to be entered upon lightly or without the utmost commitment, a commitment that required that one shed one’s own petty desires and ambitions (for praise, for fame, or even to write “a good poem”) in favor of what the poem wanted and needed: “Learn to be No-one in the voice of none… / Your living syllable.” “


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