An interdisciplinary journal about regions, places, and cultures of the US South and their global connections
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  • Ars Poetica #100: I Believe

    Poetry, I tell my students,
    is idiosyncratic. Poetry

    is where we are ourselves
    (though Sterling Brown said

    "Every 'I' is a dramatic 'I'"),
    digging in the clam flats

    for the shell that snaps,
    emptying the proverbial pocketbook.

    Poetry is what you find
    in the dirt in the corner,

    overhear on the bus, God
    in the details, then only way

    to get from here to there.
    Poetry (and now my voice is rising)

    is not all love, love, love,
    and I'm sorry the dog died.

    Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
    is the human voice,

    and are we not of interest to each other?


    Published in American Sublime (Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2005).

    Published: 10 December 2009
    © 2009 Elizabeth Alexander and Southern Spaces