Sunday, May 16, 2010

from the mailbag

Q: Do you understand your own poems?

A: Sometimes. The ones dictated to me by angelic presences in tie-dyed t-shirts and hot pants often elude my full comprehension. Does it matter? About Browning's Sordello Tennyson is said to have remarked that there were only two lines in the poem which he could understand: "Who will may hear Sordello's story told" and "Who would has heard Sordello's story told," and both of them were lies.

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