Josephine Jacobsen, commenting on the beginnings of her poetic impulse. Jacobsen, one of America's great poets, died last year, almost unnoticed. Since her first published work in 1935, she had labored steadily and quietly to build a body of powerful, intricate work. Her lectures, criticism, and essays are collected in a volume entitled "The Instant of Knowing." This book, while reflecting the density of Jacobsen's thought, repays the effort and time spent with it. From the book:
- There were experiences for which my everyday speech did not serve.
It would be years before I understood that certain words in combination could seize and control the emotions as though hypnotic. But I knew then.
True poetry is arbitrary and unpurchasable.
There are, really, extremely few themes for poems, whatever the proliferation of subjects. The themes are loneliness, love, fear, hate, beauty, death.
Habit is a kind of kudzu, a smothering of intellectual sight.
I believe the creative process tends to be a little bit obsessive.
The arbitrary and unpurchasable nature of poetry extends to the great themes Jacobsen alludes to: that is, love - and friendship, equally - cannot be purchased at any price. Just as you can have toothpaste or a Coke as good as any Bill Gates or a Saudi sheik can obtain, the love you give and receive will not be any less intense or real than the emotions experienced by anyone anywhere in the world.
That's why such remarks as Donald Trump's "I'm inviting 5,000 of my close personal friends", prior to his last marriage, are such a joke: Trump, rich and smart as he is, doesn't realize that he doesn't have ANY close personal friends.
As Georgia O'Keefe remarked, "Art, like friendship, takes time." The Donald has no time, and has no art - except, perhaps, that of "the deal" - and, sadly, no friends.