No Such Thing

Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry, writing perfectly adequate prose:

Is prose simply easier to write than poetry? Again, not necessarily. Prose can be damnably difficult to write, but it’s been my experience that one can always will oneself to write it. Right now, for instance, because I am busy and lazy in equal measure, I am bashing these sentences out hurriedly before the issue goes to the printer. I think we can all agree that what I am writing here is not, let us say, for the ages. But perhaps at least a majority of us can also agree that it is written in perfectly adequate prose. All sorts of useful things may be written in perfectly adequate prose: editorials, history, philosophy, theology, even lasting novels. But there is no such thing as a perfectly adequate poem, because a poem into which some strange and surprising excellence has not entered, a poem that is not in some inexplicable way beyond the will of the poet, is not a poem.


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