Flying Over Language

I can’t write without knowing that each thing I define will be erased in time. There are no safe and secure places for language. The death of meaning is like the extinction of a species. But other meanings come forth to fill each ecological niche. The poet routinely wipes out entire taxonomic groups in order to make room for new forms of life. This culling is necessary; the poet who doesn’t do this is in peril. You must join with the fragility of sentience, recognize the elementary or undifferentiated consciousness where language originates. Writing poetry is like playing the piano with your hair. You don’t know exactly why it works, but somehow you’re able to make music. What I’m describing is intuition, the golden hunch behind all the explanations and theories, which allows you to take advantage of the fluidity of meaning. To intuit is to step outside language and view it from the air. What’s seen when you’re flying over language are the ruins of custom and interpretation, mighty edifeces meant to last milennia. But in fact, they’re made of straw, built on flowing water. No one who is seriously writing poetry can live in them for long.

Don Domanski


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