I’m always inspired because I’m alive. It’s a gift to be able to do this. I don’t need outside inspiration. I need time. And if, and when, I get it, I use it. It would scare me to have all day long to write. I need pockets of time, spaces where it is tempting to write before the clock strikes the end. That’s where poems are born for me, when time is so compressed that the idea sparks out.
Our own Nick Ripatrazone has been on a roll lately. Apart from the many articles he’s written for The Millions, he’s got a forthcoming collection of short fiction that includes works he published in Esquire and The Kenyon Review. He also published a new poem, “South Africa, 1988,” at The Nervous Breakdown, which you can read in conjunction with his self-interview.
If only you could paraphrase
how his yellows are. Spread flat
on your bed some eighteenth
century map of
Saint Kitts. What else is there
but ornamentation? My beard like
wheat. Like how the
cabbage palms seem unevenly hacked
It should go without saying that no one goes into poetry for money.
Poetry makes us children again.
Novels have hurt me. Stories have punctured my skeptical skin. Essays have made me rethink the world. But a melancholic poem shatters me.
A well-placed poem can remind us that our existences are, cosmically, equally as brief as these 15 lines.
'Spring and Fall,' written by Gerard Manley Hopkins in September, 1880, and collected in his Poems and Prose, is the saddest poem ever written.
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