“Because I am not silent the poems are bad,” poet George Oppen is quoted as stating, although I can’t find the source from which the statement came. But it was exactly the right thing for me to find on the same day that I looked at a relatively new poem for the first time in a few weeks and thought, “What’s all this stuff?” Strewn with extraneous stuff that made me think, “Ew,” the poem rambled on and on. With that quote I realized that it was silence that was missing. All tell-y, explain-y, prose-y, and drunk on the sound of my own voice, I had let it all fall onto the page and left it there. It’s time to sweep it up, leaving at first just the sound of the broom. Then quiet.


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