I first discovered Redhawk through New Edition bookshop when it was on the café strip in Fremantle, they always had the best poetry section of any bookshop in the state, not sure if they still do but Borders in the city has a good range. I picked up a copy of the Art of Dying and I loved what I read, had to take it home with me. The copy I brought has page 69 torn out; that poem must be really good, I hope whoever has it really appreciates it. It’s hard to pick a favourite from the book, for me Redhawk is good everywhere but I’ve been thinking about this poem all week so here it is.
Who’s your favourite poet/favourite poem? Let me know in the comments, I love to discover new poets through peoples recommendations.
Some Meditations on the Art of Poetry
Given 2 good choices, both unfettered
in their meaning, the simpler is better.
Mastery of rhyme was understood by Frost:
impossible to say which rhymed word came first;
that rhyme is most sound
which surprises when it’s found.
Irony is the rarest of quality in verse,
wit next; their absence is a curse.
Brevity is not only the soul of wit,
no virtue in verse overshadows it.
If the queen of virtue is brevity,
her handmaiden is humility.
Who things they’ve found the truth, hesitate
and when they write it down, understate.
If the choice is form or meaning,
form needs weaning.
Real art is hard, but the hardest part is
ars celare artis.
What is seen in great poems as art
is in truth the urgency of the heart.
Those who believe they are the source
sew the seeds of their remorse;
those who serve something higher
step into a holy fire
where they burn.
This is what the best poets learn.
The secret to revision is well known:
cut it to the bone.
The secret to reading well:
risk the whisper, conserve the yell;
let the poem create the spell,
chatter in-between is mostly hell;
keep it shy of an hour,
and mix wit with power,
with comic relief.
From the Art Of Dying by Redhawk