Poem introduction

In the form of a dialogue, 'Making Poetry'

Making Poetry

"You have to inhabit poetry
if you want to make it."

And what's "to inhabit?"

To be in the habit of, to wear
words, sitting in the plainest light,
in the silk of morning, in the shoe of night;
a feeling bare and frondish in surprising air;
familiar... rare.

And what's "to make?"

To be and to become words' passing
weather; to serve a girl on terrible terms,
embark on voyages over voices,
evade the ego-hill, the misery-well,
the siren hiss of publish, success, publish,
success, success, success.

And why inhabit, make, inherit poetry?

Oh, it's the shared comedy of the worst
blessed; the sound leading the hand;
a wordlife running from mind to mind
through the washed rooms of the simple senses;
one of those haunted, undefendable, unpoetic
crosses we have to find.


from Poems 1955 - 2005 (Bloodaxe, 2005), copyright © Anne Stevenson 2005, used by permission of the author

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Recordings

Anne Stevenson

Anne Stevenson Reading from her Poems

1Poem for a Daughter

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2The Spirit is too Blunt an Instrument

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3The Suburb

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4The Mother

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5The Victory

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6By the Boathouse, Oxford

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7Path

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8Transparencies

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9A Surprise on the First Day of School

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10Innocence and Experience

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11A Marriage

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12Arioso Dolente

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13Sous-entendu

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14Swifts

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15Enough of Green

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16In the Tunnel of Summers

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17North Sea off Carnoustie

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18Still Life in Utah

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19If I Could Paint Essences

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20The Wind, the Sun and the Moon

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21Leaving

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22Why Take Against Mythology (1)

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23Why Take Against Mythology (2)

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24The Writer in the Corner

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25The Fiction-Makers

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26Small Philosophical Poem

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27Willow Song

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28Granny Scarecrow

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29When the camel is dust it goes through the needle's eye

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30Impromptu in C Minor

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31On Going Deaf

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32Talking Sense to my Senses

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33Who's Joking with the Photographer?

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34Terrorist

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35Making Poetry

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