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For a Gathering of Poets

Poets are not gnats in the wind.
They are dragonflies from the sun.
Come, burn your bliss in midair.
You are more needed than you know.
Be arsonists of the phoenix nest
and glow!


James Broughton (1935-1999), American poet, filmmaker, playwright, memoirist. Our Toronto public library system doesn’t have any books of his poetry, but I’ll look further afield. The vivid segment quoted here is taken from John Fox‘s 1995 book about the craft of writing poetry, Finding What You Didn’t Lose. There is a selection of Broughton’s poems on the website BIG JOY at the JAMES’ CREATIONS tab.

Concerning the poet in society, T.S. Eliot wrote:

Unless we have those few men who combine an exceptional sensibility with an exceptional power over words, our own ability, not merely to express, but even to feel any but the crudest emotions, will degenerate.

(from “Tradition and the Individual Talent” in Selected Prose of T. S. Eliot)