Acts of Mind: Conversations with Contemporary Poets

By Richard Jackson | Go to book overview

A. R. Ammons, 1978


Event: Corrective: Cure

POETRY MISCELLANY: In "Pray Without Ceasing," you talk about "tensions sprung free / into event." And "Saliences" talks about the "one event that / creates present time / in the multi-variable / scope." The "event" and "eventuality" figure prominently in "Essay on Poetics," too. It seems to me this is a useful way to begin responding to your poems--they have the character of "events" they use "events" as opposed to concepts or abstract ideas. Even words like "suasion," "salience," "periphery" must be described in terms of "events" from which they emerge. In fact, on one level "events" are modes of emergence of meaning, experience, perception, aren't they? Could you begin to "weave" some further descriptions of the nature of events?

A. R. AMMONS: Not only is the finished poem about an event, but the making of it is an event as well. I am probably extemalizing a sense of forces and events from an interior recognition of things that are happening; probably extemalizing them onto the environment and then onto analogous situations in the environment. The emergence of the poem is often unexpected, though the poet may be under durance of heavy tension--those interior forces. There's a certain undefined anxiety before the poet recognizes that two or three things come together in the mind that create an unexpected conjunction which is integrated and expressive at the same time. The poet consequently feels the release of himself into this "event."

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Acts of Mind: Conversations with Contemporary Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • The Path of Saying 1
  • The Sanctioned Babel 7
  • Untelling the Hour 13
  • The Domain of the Marvelous Prey 19
  • The Hallowing of the Everyday 27
  • Event: Corrective: Cure 32
  • Stepping into the Sky 39
  • Unnaming the Myths 48
  • On the Horizon of Time 53
  • Distilled from Thin Air 61
  • The Imminence of a Revelation 69
  • Renaming the Present 77
  • Lives We Keep Wanting to Know 84
  • Doubling the Difference 93
  • Questions of Will 101
  • Settling in Another Field 107
  • Living the Layers of Time 113
  • Double Vision 120
  • Emergencies of the Moment 126
  • The Languages of Illusion 132
  • The Mystery of Things That Are 140
  • Before the Beginning 146
  • On the Margins of Dreams 153
  • Unbreakable Codes 158
  • Projecting the Literal Word 164
  • Answering the Dark 172
  • Shaping Our Choices 178
  • Magic: Power 183
  • On the Periphery of Time 191
  • The Candle in the Pitcher 196
  • Selected Bibliography 206
  • Index 213
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