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February 10 , 2014

Across the Silence: Poems by James David Audlin

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“Poetry,” a friend once wrote, “leads us past the indescribable and submerges us in the experience.”

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Just as the mountaintop has a natural affinity for the sky it cannot touch, so poetry, as the highest form of word-art, has a natural affinity for that which is beyond words: beauty, horror, love, the sacred, and so on.

Poetry improves with age and repeated appreciation, like a fine wine or a well-made violin: the more one reads a good poem the more insight it provides to the reader; indeed, more than any other word-art, it draws us back repeatedly to read it, to read it aloud, to linger yet again before its beauty and marvel at its wisdom.

And, finally, as someone (it might have been me) said, “Poetry is the art of breaking words across the silence without disturbing it.”

Good poetry – unlike prose, which tends to revel in its own loquacity – economizes to the point that what little is said does not describe, as does prose, but points to, just as a finger points at the moon; ... for silence is as asymptotically close as we humans can get to the perfect truth.

– from the Preface.

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