15 jun. 2007

For a few years I have searched through the poems of Kenneth Koch for this passage, but could never find it, despite my clear memory of having read it there:

So many lousy poets
So few good ones
What's the problem?
No innate love of
Words, no sense of
How the thing said
Is in the words, how
The words are themselves
The thing said: love, auto...


Well yesterday I finally found it. I also discovered the reason why I had been unable to find it. It is in "The Morning of the Poem" by James Schuyler. I probably had been reading it the same time as one of those later Kenneth Koch poems about writing. I don't think Kenneth would disagree with JS in this case either.

Schuyler grew up wanting to be John O'Hara. He could have been this elegant New Yorker short story writer. Instead he became a New Yorker poet (Howard Moss liked his work so he published there a lot).

"The Morning of the Poem" is not as good as "Hymn to Life." Not as good as my memory of itself. Today I might read "A Few Days" which in my faulty memory is the best of these three poems.