Only a heat so deeply and intelligently born can carry a new idea into the air

mysterious color

Poetry as personal plate tectonics?

…perhaps you would argue that, since you want to be a contemporary poet, you do not want to be too much under the influence of what is old, attaching to the term the idea that old is old hat — out-of-date. You imagine you should surround yourself with the modern only. It is an error. The truly contemporary creative force is something that is built out of the past, but with a difference.

Most of what calls itself contemporary is built, whether it knows or not, out of a desire to be liked. It is created in imitation of what already exists and is already admired. There is, in other words, nothing new about it. To be contemporary is to rise through the stack of the past, like the fire through the mountain. Only a heat so deeply and intelligently born can carry a new idea into the air.

by Mary Oliver (born September 10, 1935)
from A Poetry Handbook (1994)
Reading Poems
image – Fabian Bromann

Strength! Honesty! Individuality!

This excerpt is from a lovely, lovely book that every aspiring writer should read – really, every aspiring creator or communicator.

I am without more words today.

What are your favorite books about the creative spirit?

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2 Responses to “Only a heat so deeply and intelligently born can carry a new idea into the air”

  1. Juanita Says:

    “The Treehouse” by Naomi Wolf.

    http://www.therecanbeonlyjuan.com/p/bookshelf.html

  2. Dee Says:

    thank you for stopping by and for your kind comment. I LOVE Mary Oliver…this is a wonderful and true post 🙂
    That book is on my wishlist now!

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