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‘In Praise of Fragments’ by Meena Alexander

Syntax of flesh and stone and root

Anchoring us to ordinary earth.

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“You can’t make a difference in the world by going to parties.”

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Poetry should not be regarded as one more means of escape.

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I’d go up to Concord Deli thinking about whether
I could be a writer some day. If I would ever learn to
smoke, curse & two-step against a hot stove 
while my children grew up under my own roof.
What would it cost me, or my family, to make up stories?

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It’s past, you’ll understand it later.

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I need to reach beyond interior decoration, biography. Art is a way of melting out through one’s skin. “What, who is this about?” is not the essential question. A poem is not about; it is out of and to. Passionate language in movement. The deep structure is always musical, and physical — as breath, as pulse

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It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure of concealment–that explores in poetry. 

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What poetry is made of is so old, so familiar, that it’s easy to forget that it’s not just the words, but polyrhythmic sounds, speech in its first endeavors (every poem breaks a silence that had to be overcome), prismatic meanings lit by each others’ light, stained by each others’ shadows. In the wash of poetry the old, beaten, worn stones of language take on colors that disappear when you sieve them up out of the streambed and try to sort them out.

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If you start out to write a poem about two dogs fucking, and you write a poem about two dogs fucking, then….you wrote a poem about two dogs fucking.

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I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.

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