Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica. To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper – metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember. Sin embargo, las piedras se vuelven menos reales Para quienes no pueden nombrarlas ni leer Las mudas sílabas sepultadas en el sílice. Ver una piedra roja es menos que verla como jaspe, Metamórfico cuarzo, pariente del pedernal que los kiowa Tallaron como puntas de sus flechas. Nombrar es conocer y recordar.
From her poem, "Words." Translated to English by José Emilio Pacheco.
Paradoxically, the simpler poetry is, the more difficult it becomes for a critic to discuss intelligently. Trained to explicate, the critic often loses the ability to evaluate literature outside the critical act. A work is good only in proportion to the richness and complexity of interpretations it provokes.Dana Gioia
How many voices have escaped you until now, the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot, the steady accusations of the clock numbering the minutes no one will mark. The terrible clarity this moment brings, the useless insight, the unbroken dark.Dana Gioia
We are not as we were. Death has been our pentecost.Dana Gioia
"We lived in places that we never knew. We could not name the birds perched on our sill, Or see the trees we cut down for our view. What we possessed we always chose to kill. "We claimed the earth but did not hear her claim, And when we died, they laid us on her breast, But she refuses us until we earn Forgiveness from the lives we dispossessed."Dana Gioia
"Teach us the names of what we have destroyed."Dana Gioia
What we conceal Is always more than what we dare confide. Think of the letters that we write our dead.Dana Gioia
Being so deeply rooted in one place and culture allows a genuine writer to experiment wildly with the material without ever losing touch with its essence.Dana Gioia
In America, the term younger poet is applied with chivalric liberality. It can be used to describe anyone not yet collecting a Social Security pension.Dana Gioia
In an age of global standardization, regional voices also remind both writer and reader that no life is lived generically. If the purpose of literature is truly, as the ancients insisted, to instruct and delight, then what better to understand and enjoy than the here and the now ?Dana Gioia
To speak from a particular place and time is not provincialism but part of a writer’s identity.Dana Gioia
Old empires always appeal to modern poets more than new ones.Dana Gioia
Poetry is not a creed or dogma. It is a special way of speaking and listening.Dana Gioia
Once an author finishes a poem, he becomes merely another reader. I may remember what I intended to put into a text, but what matters is what a reader actually finds there which is usually something both more and less than the poet planned.Dana Gioia
The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.Dana Gioia
Like the intricately rational web of theology woven around the irrational mysteries of faith, the sober explanations of institutions for hoarding literary relics seem like elegant post-factum justifications for what is essentially a sense of sacred awe. An institution of learning seeks significant manuscripts because they possess qualities that scholarship cannot entirely reproduce an authentic, holistic connection with the great writers of the past. It is not the intellectual content of the manuscript that is important but its material presence ink spots, tobacco stains, pinworm holes, and foxing included.Dana Gioia
Twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush, scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly to find an unexpected waterfall, not half a mile from the nearest road, a spot so hard to reach that no one comes a hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies and nesting jays, a sign that there is still one piece of property that won't be owned.Dana Gioia
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