A. R. Ammons, fully Archie Randolph Ammons

A. R.
Ammons, fully Archie Randolph Ammons
1926
2001

American Poet

Author Quotes

A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste, judgement, deduction.

If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery, a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster.

The poet exposes himself to the risk. All that has been said about poetry, all that he has learned about poetry, is only a partial assurance.

Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.

If the greatest god is the stillness all the motions add up to, then we must ineluctably be included.

The reeds give way to the wind and give the wind away.

Besides the actual reading in class of many poems, I would suggest you do two things: first, while teaching everything you can and keeping free of it, teach that poetry is a mode of discourse that differs from logical exposition.

If we ask a vague question, such as, 'What is poetry?' we expect a vague answer, such as, 'Poetry is the music of words,' or 'Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.'

There's something to be said in favor of working in isolation in the real world.

Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.

In nature there are few sharp lines.

Things go away to return, brightened for the passage.

Each poem in becoming generates the laws by which it is generated: extensions of the laws to other poems never completely take.

Is it not careless to become too local when there are four hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone.

To be saved is here, local and mortal.

Equilibrations. If you walk back and forth through a puddle pretty soon you wet the whole driveway but of course dry the puddle up.

It was May before my attention came to spring and my word I said to the southern slopes I've missed it, it came and went before I got right to see: don't worry, said the mountain, try the later northern slopes or if you can climb, climb into spring: but said the mountain it's not that way with all things, some that go are gone.

What destruction have I been blessed by?

Even if you walk exactly the same route each time - as with a sonnet - the events along the route cannot be imagined to be the same from day to day, as the poet's health, sight, his anticipations, moods, fears, thoughts cannot be the same.

Not so much looking for the shape as being available to any shape that may be summoning itself through me from the self not mine but ours.

When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold itself but pours its abundance without selection into every nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them, not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen, each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.

Everything is discursive opinion instead of direct experience.

Once every five hundred years or so, a summary statement about poetry comes along that we can't imagine ourselves living without.

Where but in the very asshole of comedown is redemption: as where but brought low, where but in the grief of failure, loss, error do we discern the savage afflictions that turn us around: where but in the arrangements love crawls us through

Fall fell: so that's it for the leaf poetry: some flurries have whitened the edges of roads and lawns: time for that, the snow stuff: and turkeys and old St. Nick: where am I going to find something to write about I haven't already written away: I will have to stop short, look down, look up, look close, think, think, think: but in what range should I think: should I figure colors and outlines, given forms, say mailboxes, or should I try to plumb what is behind what and what behind that, deep down where the surface has lost its semblance: or should I think personally, such as, this week seems to have been crafted in hell: what: is something going on: something besides this diddledeediddle everyday matter-of-fact: I could draw up an ancient memory which would wipe this whole presence away: or I could fill out my dreams with high syntheses turned into concrete visionary forms: Lucre could lust for Luster: bad angels could roar out of perdition and kill the AIDS vaccine not quite perfected yet: the gods could get down on each other; the big gods could fly in from nebulae unknown: but I'm only me: I have 4 interests--money, poetry, sex, death: I guess I can jostle those. . . .

Author Picture
First Name
A. R.
Last Name
Ammons, fully Archie Randolph Ammons
Birth Date
1926
Death Date
2001
Bio

American Poet