“My songs are written with the kettle drums in mind / a touch of any anxious color…with a melodic purring line of descriptive hollowness”
Leave it to Dylan to describe his art better than anyone else.
About poetry we can only utter half truths.
“The medium of poetry isn’t language, really; its human loneliness, a loneliness that poets, having received it themselves from earlier poets, transfer to their readers. Like bees in a honeycomb, writers and reader experience isolation and solitude communally and collaboratively.”
–from Dan Chaisson’s review of Olena Davis’s new book of poems in The New Yorker, December 8, 2014
Chaisson gets his underlying idea from Harold Bloom who says that poets create an “otherness” such that loneliness is “created and alleviated at once.”
I’m not sure I agree with this narrow definition. However, and without getting too far into the weeds, I would add that our frenetic culture has given the idea of loneliness a bad rap.
Art is not a mirror to reflect the world but a hammer with which to shape it.
We watched you die in a New York hospital
from our engineering lab here in Oregon
There you were in our system log files
your cardiac alarms ringing off the hook
Nurse! Come quick! I want to live!
And your impossibly brave heart tried
to hold on–for twenty minutes
But nobody came until it was too late
Shit hit the fan later. The usual inquiries
and finger pointing. We hooked you up
but your friends weren’t there
And everybody needs friends
on this cold blue ball
“Poetry is a deep inner calling in man; from it came liturgy, the psalms, and also the content of religions. The poet confronted nature’s phenomena and in the early ages called himself a priest, to safeguard his vocation. . . . Today’s social poet is still a member of the earliest order of priests. In the old days he made his pact with the darkness, and now he must interpret the light.”