In order to launch this section of the NCLA archive we are delighted to present the following poem by Anne Stevenson which has been taken from the prologue of her book Poems 1995 - 2005 (Bloodaxe, 2005).
'You have to inhabit poetry
if you want to make it.'
And what's 'to inhabit'?
To be in the habit of, to wear
words, sitting in the plainest light,
in the silk of morning, in the shoe of night;
a feeling bare and frondish in surprising air;
And what's 'to make'?
To be and to become words' passing
weather; to serve a girl on terrible
terms, embark on voyages over voices,
evade the ego-hill, the misery-well,
the siren hiss of publish, success, publish,
success, success, success.
And why inhabit, make, inherit poetry?
Oh, it's the shared comedy of the worst
blessed; the sound leading the hand;
a wordlife running from mind to mind
through the washed rooms of the simple senses;
one of those haunted, undefendable, unpoetic
crosses we have to find.