The Sentence

January 22, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Posted in writing | 17 Comments
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Writing is not the recording of thoughts, it is the having of them.
The words themselves create the idea.
Inscribed on this here pebble smoothed by tide.
Witch is why it works so well. Objective undefined,
an ideal of beauty, perhaps an accidental reflection
of a certain harmonious drive.

“Poets should learn how to create sentences,” said some apprentice professor.
Poets should unlearn how to create sentences.
“What time is it?” said the judge.
“Five to ten,” said I.
“Well, that’s exactly what you get.”

Perhaps there are variations in the impulse to freedom and it is that which defines the artist. They are the subset of the human in whom the impulse to freedom is never satisfied.


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  1. “Poets should learn to write sentences” is from an article I read in Harriet today bemoaning the quality of writing in poetry blogs.

  2. “The words themselves create the idea”
    So true… so often I write based on a single word that resonates, and I let things trickle through from there.

  3. who you callin a subset? puddup yer dukes, pam pop ping. argh, got me, a shiner. quick right to the….never mind, sigh, i give up. ha ha ha. really cool

  4. See I often have ideas but the right words escape me…maybe the process of inspiration is different for everyone. I can think it in my head but then struggle to translate it. It doesn’t make sense I know but generally, I don’t usually make much sense.


    Just ignore me. That’s the least painful way to handle it. Ha ha ha.

  5. a sentence can be a prison or freedom, chains or inspiration

  6. Ahhhhh totally!!! I see we see eye to eye.

  7. whatever happened to poets writing in Morse Code…? now there is a lost art…

    nice ‘n’ cheeky…

  8. So poets are slaves of their language? Or more general writers are the slaves of their writing?

  9. “Writing is not the recording of thoughts, it is the having of them” – Ah, precisely. At this moment, the words are my thoughts… I am not recording, I am giving birth. And here I was, thinking all along such a thing was scientifically impossible.

  10. Improvisation of thought without any influence other than a pen. Hmmmm, inbred or learned? 5-10 seems quite inadequate for the crime, ha! Wonderful flow to these latest pieces, Paul.

  11. I love this, its the closest definition I ever heard!!

  12. I want freedom like I want sweets, but too much of both are bad for my health. As one’s circumstances change, so does one’s definition of freedom. Now you’ve got me thinking….

  13. This is a frequency we share, Paul.
    I guess we’ll have to time-slice Not!
    So beautiful. It’s liberating to grok the FACT that we all paint with a limited pallet. Every medium has constraints.

    Like a baseball, symbols can be thrown hard and fast, slow, curved, knuckled, out of the zone, lobbed, and even rolled. Knowing when to do what yields a symbol-master — like you.

    I recommend to all “Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art” by Stephen Nachmanovitch.
    And to some even “Freedom Evolves” by Dan Dennett.

  14. Words creating idea, very Whorf.
    Judge exchange, very Marx Brothers
    Artists find own ways to freedom: which is why any art program that teaches rules is only respectable if it understands their purpose is to be broken into a million different pieces.
    Whole thing very Squires.

  15. I completely agree with and affirm your sentiments regarding that!

  16. i love reading your thoughts about writing. the concepts in here are genius. the parts that reached out to me the most are the first sentence and the last paragraph. i think the very essence of art is freedom — that’s what creativity is after all. sentences that start “poets should” or “writers should” or anyone should anything should cease to exist.

  17. I should print this out, frame it to put where I can read it. Really do think you’ve hit a nail or two on the head. Brilliant as always.

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