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Back to Previous. Laura Riding Jackson. Their activities included meetings for the reading and discussion of poetry and philosophy, and they published their own poetry magazine, The Fugitive, which appeared from to At their best, they have some of the concentration of language so memorable in Emily Dickinson, while the syntactic difficulty and elaborate conceits [T. The language has precision, but also litheness of expression-movement; it is language alive and at work.

Because there is a right way in, and no other way, one may feel puzzled or dazzled until it is found. Jackson because she found it incompatible with truth. It was as if she wanted to make the mechanisms of language, usually so approximate and reductive, accurate enough in the effect of their working to initiate the reader willy-nilly into an awareness of what she felt to be the pure, unmediated truth. Her inner need for certainty determined both her conception of truth and the tenacity with which she upheld it.

Her preoccupation with definitions and literal meaning was responsible for the precision of her poems. When she transferred her principles to general speech, however, they became an obstacle to her ability to communicate and failed to generate a practical example for others to follow. Poems by Laura Riding Jackson. Related Content. Articles Minor Notes. More About this Poet. Region: U. Poems by This Poet Related Bibliography.

Appeared in Poetry Magazine. Head Itself. The Lovers. In general the writers are — they know how lucky they are. RB : You start out with a sense that there is a civilizing effect of thinking and writing and telling stories. It made life somehow better. And looking around today, it may be true but the contemplative life seems to be losing the battle.

EP : It improves the individual life, I think. People who read, people who write—. RB : All right, I scratch that line of thought. RB : A guy takes a trip to some backwater town, and takes a train back to the capitol and meets a woman. The train is blocked at a tunnel and the passengers have to get off and return to the starting point — as man and the woman walk side by side, their hands come close to touching but do not. And then over the years they meet. In final pages, you learn explicitly that they were lovers once.

I was charmed by their initial close proximity which was brought to some fruition much later.

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Finding the Words to Say It: The Healing Power of Poetry

RB : And then the heart wrenching tale of a damaged infant. Why did you name her Tess? EP : No. I wrote it in pieces. There are probably a half of dozen people who see the child — each of them has a thought that you know about.

RB : I wonder about the aftermath of writing a novel, which requires a writer to inhabit lives for a period of time. How long does it take to write a story — a year? EP : No, no. A few months. I suppose in a hardhearted way I forget the sadness of the story I have written. Life goes on and I write the next story. EP : Linked stories? Well I have several stories that take place in the same place — in soup kitchen. The stories about the woman who works for the joint distribution committee — there are four about her.

RB : Is there one thing that moves you in taking up or developing a story — a name, an image, feeling, a memory?

Rendering the Truth in Poetic Prose | To The Best Of Our Knowledge

I start all over again with the knowledge that I have gotten from the improvisation. EP : Well, I take them to my friend, whom I meet every month, who is ruthless with me and I with her. RB : One writer told me that she submits the draft — her editor sends a back a few notes, which enrage her. She writes back to her editor expressing her anger. And a few weeks later, the writer decides the editor was right laughs. I lost track of why the card game devolved to the temple and presentation ceremony.

I was distracted by the card game interlude. That is to say it was chance that some Jews lived and some died. Story collections are a delight because despite what is usually a deliberate sequence you can go through and begin with titles that you find appealing. I would never skip around in a novel.

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EP : My daughter used to read novels that way. A piece here and a piece there. There is a writer who found or could have found his ideal reader.

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

I tried and was told that the director did mean for you to see it that way. RB : In the last few years, I have relaxed my personal rule about finishing books that I begin—. RB : It means I have shifted more responsibility to the writer. And the things we believe today, we can expect not to believe tomorrow. EP : Well, I do when I make a collection. EP : Improve? If it then goes into an anthology like Best American, I take an opportunity to correct or revise there — but not much.

Not wholesale revision. And then, for a collection of my own, I certainly have an opportunity to change or review. RB : Where does that impulse come from?


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At one point you felt the story was finished. Not perfect but done. I was in an event in which three short stories were read by three actresses which was a lot of fun.

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I was watching one writer listening to her own story — she said later all she could hear were the infelicities. RB : There is also the matter that the creator has expectations of the audience to grasp their creation in a certain way. It can be appreciated in many ways.


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Or not appreciated. EP : Thirteen new stories that had not been in a book. They had previously been published in magazines. There were 16 stories that had never been collected.