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.
from “In Praise of Rareness,” Christian Wiman in Ambition and Survival, p123.
Yep. The busy and lazy part, the adequate has value part, and the part where poems demand to be more-than…or not at all.
That’s what kicks my write-routinely butt. The not at all part.
Somehow the “time to travel” wire gets closer and closer, and I remember more and more Things to Do. (Which, you may guess, are none of them Writing Thoughtful Posts.) I wish I could figure out how to generate this sort of compression in my usual life, since it yields some great results with my psyche.
And because I just know you’re begging for more Christian Wiman quotes, here’s a funny one, from just before the quote above:
Aiming at eternity with critical prose is like praying to a potato. You may get God's attention, but only because He likes a good laugh. —CW
— Kimbol Soques (@kimbol_s) July 30, 2016