Showing posts from January, 2021


  What makes a great first line of poetry?    I fell into Alice Oswald's long poem Nobody with this one:                     "As the mind flutters in a man who has travelled widely"   A comparison; a restless mind; a character I'm likely to find alluring and provocative. A rhythmic onrush, chasing and settling like the flutter it names; so in reading, my mind is already acting like that of the traveller.   The lips, the front of the mouth, all softly active: m, f, v, w.     What else to do but give over and go along?  __ I often stall at first lines both as a reader and a writer.    I don't always understand exactly what it is that fails to pull me in, but as often as not it has to do with receptivity. If I scroll through a lot of poems feeling disconnected and dulled by their openings, chances are high it's me not them.  And if I scratch out a few syllables for a poem and turn away bored, it's definitely me.    The problem is always how to keep going, no