Breath and Mystery and Exactness of Poetry, Always Wins

What a great line (see below) — breath, mystery, exactness, musicality, chaos, order.

It’s Ada Limon in response to a questions from Lauren LeBlanc, published in a 2018 BOMB Magazine — thx Saoirse Charis Graves for pointing me to this interview.

As one breathing my way further into “why I write” this passage itself offers breath.

Ada Limon is Mexican American, recently named 24th Poet Laureate of the United States.

What sweet invitation.

I love poetry for numerous reasons, but one very essential reason is that poetry is the only creative writing art form that builds breath into it. It makes you breathe. It not only allows for silence, it demands it. We enter the poem with our own breath. For me, it’s also very simply about the units, the building blocks, of poems. The units of poetry begin with just the syllable, and then the phrase, then the line, then the stanza. It’s as much about the ear as it is the eye and it’s as much about the images and narrative as it is about pacing and rhythm. No other art form quite has that same mix of chaos and control. I love writing essays and I even write fiction from time to time, but the musicality of poetry, the breath and mystery and exactness of poetry, always wins.

So, here’s to breath, mystery and how it enlivens the day to day, humans living in the ordinary and the extraordinary.

One Reply to “Breath and Mystery and Exactness of Poetry, Always Wins”

  1. Yes, finding this particular interview was exciting for me.

    As one who is also exploring “why I write” (or more accurately, why I might write *publicly*), I am intrigued by this notion of breath built in. Noticing breath has unlocked entry into the wisdom of my body, which changed everything.

    If offering my poetry helped open the breath of another, that would be reason enough.

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