This made me think – surrendering to aimlessness to write poetry (and other things?  A good letter?  A story?).  Perhaps I misinterpret Eyres’ advice, but I sense in it the need, when putting pen to paper, to allow a moment of emptiness, reflecting the blank page or screen in front of you.  White space to let the writing come to you, to hear it form.

The trick is gauging ‘at some level’.  It feels like letting go of all your knowledge in order to let it find its own voice through you. There is that moment, when things flow, that creativity seems to take care of itself and one is simply the agent putting it down on paper, or canvas, or whatever other medium it involves.  Perhaps that’s what Eyres means by ‘aimlessness’.

‘At some level you need to surrender yourself to aimlessness to write poetry.’

See also the quote-mosaic review of Harry Eyres’ splendid book on the charm and continuing relevance of Horace.


Source: Harry Eyres, Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013), p. 99


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