Tell it Slant: How to Write a Wise Poem, essay by Camille Dungy

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Few essays on writing poetry grab me by the collar, slam me against the wall, and say “Listen, dammit!” But this one did.

Camille Dungy’s words sear through the fog. She tells it slant. She tells it true. She explains how some masters have done it. If you’ve not read her poetry, seek it out. You’re in for a treat. If you have the good fortune to attend a lecture or reading by her, do so. She’s energetic, wise and kind. She knows.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/247926

27 thoughts on “Tell it Slant: How to Write a Wise Poem, essay by Camille Dungy

  1. Robert, I haven’t read the Dungy piece completely through yet, but I just had to take a break and let you know how much I appreciate your sharing it. Absolutely at the top of the heap of everything I’ve ever read on the art and craft of poetry…the soul of what it is we try to do and how to do it. What more to say…thank you!

    Ron

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  2. “We can’t truly know comfort unless we know its opposite. Writers who think carefully about how to render the world in a truthful and realistic way have to handle, bare-handed and, thus, ever so carefully, the double-edged sword of comfort versus discomfort. Degrees of discomfort can vary, and the good writer will alternate various levels of danger with the familiar so a reader isn’t at a constant level of alertness.”

    Great counsel for a novelist, too! Thank you, Robert!

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  3. ‘Writers who think carefully about how to render the world in a truthful and realistic way have to handle, bare-handed and, thus, ever so carefully, the double-edged sword of comfort versus discomfort.’

    This discussion of the ‘Tell it slant’ poem reminds me of Les Murray’s poem ‘The Quality of Sprawl’ http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-quality-of-sprawl/
    and particularly the final stanza.

    A really interesting read – all tatoos should make a similar revelation.

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  4. This looks like a piece I need the time to absorb, so I’ve saved it in my reading list to savour at my leisure. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Thank you for the link to the essay. A brilliant insight on the art of writing, whether poetry, essay, or prose. So a rich presentation of ideas to digest slowly. Thank you also for visiting Shunyata today. Shunyata is strictly quotations and photography. My other site, Forest Garden, is a bit broader, and also harbors the occasional bit of poetry. May all be well with you, WG

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