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A. R. Ammons, fully Archie Randolph Ammons

(1926 - 2001)

Biography:

American Poet

Quotes
A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste, judgement, deduction.
Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.
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.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
Each poem in becoming generates the laws by which it is generated: extensions of the laws to other poems never completely take.
Equilibrations. If you walk back and forth through a puddle pretty soon you wet the whole driveway but of course dry the puddle up.
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.
Everything is discursive opinion instead of direct experience.
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. . . .
For though we often need to be restored to the small, concrete, limited, and certain, we as often need to be reminded of the large, vague, unlimited, unknown.