“Genuine Poetry can communicate before it’s understood.”
The first time I felt it was The Wasteland. “The Burial of the Dead”. I read two pages and looked back and I didn’t realize there were words—that I’d read anything at all. But I felt mysteriously lost and sort of gloomy and a bit like there was someone sad somewhere and the whole thing was a bit depressed.
And after Eliot there was Nabokov, and Cummings, and Whitman, and the Beats—mostly Ginsberg and Corso. And something about it all made me feel a little more alone and a little more human and a little more alive.
And if I needed to write an essay on it I could; Kerouac and Ginsberg are partial to celestial imagery and Whitman thrives on exaltation and repetition and the feeling that man can be as big as the ocean.
But when I read poetry—poetry that is good poetry—I don’t care about meaning. It could be about sex or murder or toothaches or leaves. I honestly don’t give a shit. What I care about is if I can feel someone’s skin or bloodlust or sore bones or sandpaper. And with good poetry I can.
And god damnit, that’s a sort of magic.