"The Machine of Poetry"

From an essay by Matthew Zapruder on the PowellsBooks.blog:

....The more poetry I read and wrote, the more clearly I saw that there was really no such thing as “poetic language.” The words in poems are for the most part the same as those we find everywhere else. The energy of poetry comes primarily from the reanimation and reactivation of the language that we recognize and know.... 

Read the full essay here.

“The peace of wild things”

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Wendell Berry; source

Everything I have learned in 500 Words (by Zat Rana)


 1. Much of what we treat as real is a figment of our collective imagination.
 2. Beyond scientific and societal laws, rules are as firm as you make them.
 3. There is nobody you can’t empathize with once you’ve heard their story.
 4. You have to be lucky to be successful, but luck can be engineered.
 5. It all starts and ends in the mind. The most crucial skill is how you think.
 6. What you say “no” to better predicts a result than what you say “yes” to.
 7. Happiness isn’t about a state of constant elation. It’s about being content.
 8. Outside of physics, chemistry, and biology, most science is very uncertain.
 9. Those who engage in cynicism often do so to show how “smart” they are.
10. Everyone is a hypocrite, and it often doesn’t matter. Life isn’t a formula.
11. People suck. But if you’re kind, you’ll get the best out of even the worst.
12. People are inspiring. The lengths many of us go to for others is baffling.
13. Perfection only exists in the mind. It’s not real. Imagine, create, improve.
14. Reading is telepathy. A book is the most powerful technology invented.
15. Planning is useful, but returns tend to diminish. Start before you’re ready.
16. The less you care about trivial things, the more likable you generally are.
17. Diversity in experience fuels diversity in thought. Live experimentally.
18. The better you adjust your internal expectations, the happier you’ll be.
19. Growth is what keeps life interesting, and it comes from doing hard stuff.
20. Nostalgia is selective. On scale, things are as good as they’ve ever been.
21. Outside rare exceptions, “experts” get far more credit than they deserve.
22. Over time, the greatest risk you can take is to take no risks at all.
23. Who you let into your life is a vital decision. Don’t leave it up to chance.
24. If you worship money, possessions, or prestige, you’ll never have enough.
25. Rationality is one of the most valuable life tools, but it has its limitations.
26. The fact that life is finite should accompany every long-term decision.
27. You don’t need permission to lead, build, create, or to think differently.
28. Everything is approximate. Don’t aim to be right. Aim to be less wrong.
29. It’s better to not have an opinion than to blindly follow someone else’s.
30. For most of us, life is quite long. It only feels short if we start to waste it.

Source: Zat Rana on Medium

Poetry connects us...

Poetry connects us to what is deepest in ourselves. It gives us access to our own feelings, which are often shadowy, and engages us in the art of making meaning. It widens the space of our inner lives. It is a magical, mysterious, inexplicable (though not incomprehensible) event in language.
— Edward Hirsch