Tuesday, 5 February 2013


"It's a risk. I mean, I think the risk is sounding simple, simplistic—and Frost, for God knows how long, was dismissed for that very reason. He's blatantly not simple, or anything like it, but that's the risk. I know I've said this before, but I think there's a kind of fruitful risk in also playing it as close to sentimentality as one dares—and maybe a dumb sort of clarity, and adopting an almost pretentious rhetorical height. You fall off the tightrope and make a fool of yourself, but I think you have to risk it. It strikes me that that sort of game is worth playing, because the stakes are a lot higher; potentially you win a lot more in terms of the force of what you communicate, the strength of feeling you can share with or elicit from the reader, the coining of speech that is both familiar and radically destabilizing. But you have to run the risk of looking like a pretentious dick. An idiot. A sentimental buffoon. Many of our late-mod, non-conformist friends never look so silly, but then they risk very little."
Don Paterson discusses the high stakes of writing poems readers can follow.

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