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"Poets are not supposed to be thinkers, is the common conclusion. Well, if they´re supposed to be prophets, I will make a prophecy -that they will become thinkers, in future-. What have they to lose? Only their sense of inadequacy and their present intellectual vacuity"
From "Beyond Autobiography". Paradise. Essays on Myth, Art, & Reality


"The idea of a voyage exists as an image in my Europe poem, and in my Atlantis poem, profoundly so [...] It arose from the fact that I was on a trip, and I used this actual experience as imaginative material, and I structured the poem in what Frye would probably call an archetypal way around a metaphorical voyage. What happened actually to my poetry, you see, is that it took a direction evolving out of itself -not via Pound or anybody else- namely, toward a fragmentary and continuing process of meditation and creation."
From John Nause; Michael Heenan. NAUSE, John; HEENAN, Michael: "An Interview with Louis Dudek"


"More particularly, what I discovered in writing Europe was the great wave of emotion, the cumulative energy of a sea-like rhythm, that gathers in a long poem. I discovered that a long poem, in this case, a series of poems, achieves an intensity and a self-propelling force that can never be equalled by short poems or a mere collection of short poems written at different times. I discovered that poetry has actual momentum, that it is like a tide, or like the sea."
From "Preface". Europe


"In a poem the words happen, they just come. I let them. Otherwise I wouldn´t write. To interfere with what is happening is to distort the poem. Just a very small degree of intelligence and supervision is necessary. Very tactful. Any revision later that violates the text as it came, that begins rewriting the words, is fake. Is goddamn writing skills. Is an intrusion"
From Ken Norris, ed.: Vehicle Days. An Unorthodox History of Montreal´s Vehicle Poets


"Let the young poets keep away from abstractions [...] Let there be concrete images: let them grow into symbols, drama, physical experiments, nightmares or apocalyptic fantasies [...] Let there be energy. The tone need not to be limited to grey nature morte, melancholy and meditation. There are other emotions, states of mind! Activities! [...] And thought. Let the poem contain thought, or the result of thought, Poetry is communication of something worth saying."
From Selected Essays and Criticism


"The pleasure of writing poems like these, and of perfecting them, is immense and profound; it is more addictive than sex or drugs. I would say that it is the only pleasure that really endures. And it must do the same for the reader if the reader gives it a chance."
From "Preface". The Surface of Time


"Poetry cannot change the world in a day, the world of wars, oppressions and mob-suicide which men have prepared for themselves. But in the end, only poetry, imagination, can do so."
From Selected Essays

"The test of the new poetry is its relevance to life, not to the art museums; its energy, not its static impressiveness…The trouble with most new poetry is not just its mediocrity. The average level of poetry should be at least human communication, speech of a minor kind one understands and profits by. But most poetry today is not even that. The best current poetry -that superlatively 'competent' stuff- is incredibly void of interest of utility for the reader; it concerns only the poet himself, it is a subject for self-display or self analysis; at best, an ironic picture of the 'intellectual' in a hostile environment."
From Selected Essays


"I believe that the recreation of poetry as a great continuing art depends n a successful artistic crystallization and heightening of rational experience, not on a tragic submergence in the unconscious. More consciousness, not less, in poetry. But for those too conscious¾more submission to the inward self."
From Selected Essays


"I don't want illuminations, not even Rimbaud's; I don't like the idea of walking like an illuminated man -that's nonsense- I just want to be aware, as a rational, intelligent, sensible human being, seeing other people and believing that there are aspects in this experience of living where you can sink into hell literally, into suffering and misery and evil and crime and death; or you can rise, and you can have love and friendship, and poetry -which is an illumination, like a light in the grey clouds, that appears to you for a time."
From Michael Darling: "An Interview with Louis Dudek"


"The residue of religion in my work appears as a modified transcendentalism, and the positivist scientific side of my thought appears as concreteness and realism. The effort to reconcile the two is at the core of all my poetry."
From Wynne Francis: "A Critic of Life"


"The poem will have the content and richness of meaning of prose and yet it will be poetry. It has to be poetry: it cannot be just prose chopped up. It may look like chopped prose, but it has to be poetry, and that's where the difficulty comes in."
From Louise Schrier: "The Breathless Adventure. An Interview with Louis Dudek on the Long Poem"


"The long poem cannot be a digressive, expansive, boring exposition. It is really made of very sharp, Imagistic, quintessential poetic elements. Every rift, you know, is filled with ore, as Keats said it should be. This ore is the element, although it seems so habitual, I don't think of images or Imagism any more. Still, it's usually there. So that the short poem becomes the principle of the long poem in a paradoxical way."
From Louise Schrier: "The Breathless Adventure. An Interview with Louis Dudek on the Long Poem"

Louis Dudek's works copyright © to the author.


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