"I see now, in our contemporary moment, that it is more necessary than ever to receive the gifts that poetry offers. Each day we are faced with sound bites and catchphrases deadening and trivializing our language, the widening gulf of our ideological differences eroding civil discourse and our ability to truly communicate with each other, to hear each other. For all of that, poetry is the corrective, the sacred language that allows us to connect across time and space, across all the things in everyday life that separate us and would destroy us. That’s because poetry allows us to reckon with our troubled past and to imagine the better, more just society that we must continue each day to build. It evokes in us “the better angels of our nature,” eliciting our most humane impulses to engage the humanity of others through the projection of our own emotional knowledge, our empathetic understanding—the best knowledge we have for dealing with each other."
#Virigina Quarterly Review
"… with progress and machine comfort and buttons and buzzers and contraptions and clever paraphernalia and infallible statistics and the deification of Fact, we are swinging back full circle to a very old and a very simple truth. We are being compelled, by the abject collapse of a material conception of living, to recognize once more the terrible necessity in our lives for that strength, that pillaring of the spirit, that informing and sustaining power which it has always been the special virtue and splendor of poetry to impart."
#Virginia Quarterly Review
Wresting Dailiness from Obscurity: Maureen Owen’s Zombie Notes
by Ashleigh Lambert
I recently found a scrap of paper in the notebook I kept while I was pregnant. At first glance, it appears to be misplaced, an orphan from some other journal. It’s an excerpt from a Mary Ruefle essay. She writes:
I remember that I did not always know authors were ordinary people living ordinary lives, and that an ordinary life was an obscure life, if we can extend the meaning of obscure to mean covered up by dailiness, glorious dailiness, shameful dailiness, dailiness that is difficult to figure out, that is not always clear until a long time afterward. Obscure: not readily noticed, easily understood, or clearly expressed. Which is a pretty good definition of life.