Julene's Reviews > Writing the Australian Crawl

Writing the Australian Crawl by William Stafford
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's review
Dec 24, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: about-writing-poetry

I have internalized his basic concepts, starting with what is in front of you and pulling the threads from the air. I love his approach. I love how he wrote and sent out and wrote more and more, not going back so much as keeping the practice of writing alive.

I'm adding some quotes from the book to this review:
"A poem is anything said in such a way or put on the page in such a way as to invite the hearer or reader a certain kind of attention. The kind of attention that is invited will appear—sort of—in what follows."
"A writer is not trying for a product, but accepting sequential signals and adjustments toward an always-arriving present."
"Writing is a reckless encounter with whatever comes along."
"All particulars reflect something, if looked at alertly enough. The job in writing is the repeated encounter with particulars. It maybe that you hit on a succession of particulars that reinforce each other—and in that case you have a poem."
"All you have to do is get a little more alert to see that even your best moves are compromises—and complicated. You get some consequences you were aiming for —and some that you weren't."
"Multifaceted possibilities of life that a poem might capture if it is successful—"
"For me, poetry is not like the jeweler's craft...polishing, polishing, always rubbing it more and more. It's like the exhilaration of getting somewhere. It is like running fast and your elbows and knees may not always be exactly right...but you're really getting somwhere.
You can run across a log pond—you know, where they're floating the logs at a sawmill—by stepping on one log at a time. And if you don't step on a given log very long, you can go hopping clear across the pond on the logs. But if you stop on one, it'll sink...sometimes I feel a writer should be like this—that you need your bad poems. You shouldn't inhibit yourself. You need t have your dreams; you need to have your poems. If you begin to keep from dreaming or from trying to write your poems, you could be in trouble. You have to learn to say "Welcome..welcome." Welcome dreams. Welcome poems. And then if somebody says, "I don't like that poem." you; can say, "Well it's my life That poem was in the way, so I wrote it."
"Just as we don't choose our dreams—they choose us—I have this feeling that if we can get with ourselves somehow, and let the thing that we're doing at the moment when we are writing unfold, like a dream, with as little guidance as a dream has, it will somehow be, there will be more of ourselves in it than if we have a made a prior comittment to some particular kind of poem or story or novel."


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