Anthony Wilson

‘When I read poetry’: in memory of Mark Strand

by Anthony Wilson

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I am sad because the great American poet Mark Strand has died.

Among the tributes to him in the last few days was this, from an interview with The Paris Review: The Art of Poetry No 77 (1998).

The words belong to Strand. I have merely reshaped them on the page.

 

When I read poetry

I want to feel myself

suddenly larger…

in touch with –

or at least close to –

what I deem magical,

astonishing.

I want to experience

a kind of wonderment.

And when you report back

to your own daily world

after experiencing the strangeness

of a world sort of recombined

and reordered in the depths

of a poet’s soul,

the world looks fresher somehow.

Your daily world

has been taken out of context.

It has the voice of the poet

written all over it,

for one thing,

but it also seems suddenly more alive…

 

Mark Strand (1934-2014)

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