With the best poets you can play an archaeological game. Take a volume of the work, mist your eyes so you can’t see a word, flutter through the pages, get a sense of the forms the poems take. Dickinson’s are slight and skeletal against the white, like the bones of birds, stanzaic poems of John Donne or Thomas Hardy seem like worked gemstones with patterned edges. Whitman’s line-ends seem like the wild blown edges of a ragged garment. This is the place to begin, peering at shapes. Assess the balance of the black creature and the white silence. Consider always what in this case the creature is, what in this case the silence is. And if they are those things, what pressures do they exert upon one another?

– Glyn Maxwell, On Poetry.


Do this if only to remind yourself that the writing of a poem is a physical act, a deed that elbows into its space and time in the day or the night. The passing of the quill, the fountain-pen, the typewriter, the iPad – this too shall pass – never changed anything. Perhaps I’m addressing you whose need to write verse, to score lines into silence, to  drum your fingers into the dark, rises in you in a tangible way, like a tonic, an act of self-healing, a way how  not to feel inadequate, empty, forsaken, ill. These adjectives won’t seem exaggerated to you I’m talking to. Put the blank paper, or the empty screen, right to one side there, and start to know it.

– Glyn Maxwell, On Poetry

If we allow ourselves to let go of being split, if we no longer need a triumph of mind over flesh, if we allow the flesh itself to think and be thought, there is no longer any need to turn skin into canvas, to read and be read. If we allow thought to lay itself down into all of our cells, then what there is, is.

— Quinn Eades, All the Beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body

Each person is an asking, a peculiar kind of hole asking some very definite energy from Janey. Janey is very scared of people because she’s scared she’s going to hurt someone. So what? She has to give a lot of energy to giving each person the exact right kind of energy.

By the end of the evening she is nothing.

— Blood and Guts in High School, Kathy Acker

I could live without its first two tracks, which are fine but not extraordinary. But the remainder of the album – the eight-song sequence that begins with Nude and ends with Videotape is, to my ears, sheer compositional and performance heaven. These are the terrifying lullabies our age of surveillance deserves.

— Teju Cole on In Rainbows.

No one ever told me it was OK to identify as something other than male or female. Alone, I struggled with how to describe what I knew inside was a truth: I was not going to grow up to be either a man or a woman. I had already spent many years trying to make myself into one or the other and had been unsuccessful.

Society’s need to make gender one or the other sacrifices the life experiences of people like me. We are forced to choose between a man and a woman. For me, this would mean denying a large part of who I am. My journey is not about transitioning into one of the two acceptable genders. It is not about making a political statement. My journey is about becoming a whole person.

— Mr. Barb Greve, ‘Courage From Necessity’.