Another passage from Christian Wiman* that speaks to poetry writing but could apply to all the rest of us who are inveterate makers:
Reality doesn’t need us. A poet knows this, and then, in the midst of a poem, when reality streams through the words that would hold it, doesn’t quite. W.S. Di Pietro, probably the most consistently compelling and idiosyncratic prose writer among contemporary poets, writes of the moment when one realizes that one’s “attempts to write poetry, with all its halting correctiveness and will towards coherence, is of no consequence to the starry sky.” And yet it was the starry sky that occasioned the poem, perhaps, that seems to be not simply its subject but somehow in the poem, of it. It is a calling, we say, trying to explain this need to make things the world can do without, as if the plain givenness of reality could ever be a call, as if a poem could ever be an answer.
The need to make things the world can do without. And yet.
Another great passage from Wiman.
*Other memorable passages from the poet Christian Wiman’s only prose book, Ambition and Survival are included in these posts:
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