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from A Poet’s Work, by Sam Hamill

from A Poet’s Work, by Sam Hamill

Gram­mar is no more than a log­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion for the pre­sen­ta­tion of thoughts and feel­ings. “Struc­ture,” [Wen­dell] Berry says, “is intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty.” And, “A sen­tence is both the oppor­tu­ni­ty and lim­it of thought—what we have to think with, and what have to think in. It is, more­over, a fee­lable thought, a thought that impress­es its sense not just on our under­stand­ing, but on our hear­ing, our sense of rhythm and pro­por­tion.”


To per­mit our schools to neglect the study of gram­mar is to deny our chil­dren the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore the lim­its of their own thoughts and feel­ings.


—Sam Hamill, “Ortho­dox, Het­ero­dox, Para­dox”

from <i>Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America</i>

from Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America

In the begin­ning there was trans­la­tion. With­out it there’s no expres­sion, not even gene expres­sion, no life. Even the untrans­lat­able is func­tion­al, vital for the process. To splice one must first excise. Mem­o­ry, with its tri­dent of recall, imag­i­na­tion and trans­for­ma­tion is translation’s muse and tax­on­o­my. Mem­o­ry is some­times uncon­scious cog­ni­tion, oth­er times absence. In an inte­gra­tive age, grid and matrix rename the prongs, erect iso­mers or chasms, employ cat­a­log, entropy or the enzy­mat­ic for reproduction’s sake. Not all cre­ation is equal. We’re not all but­ter­flies. Mean­ing burns us as we burn it. Our predilec­tion is repli­ca­tion and mim­ic­ry.


—Fady Joudah, “In the Name of The Let­ter, The Spir­it & The Dou­ble Helix”