Poetry, Doubt

Poetry and doubt require one another, they coexist like the oak and ivy, like dogs and cats. But their relationship is neither harmonious nor symmetrical. Poetry needs doubt far more than doubt needs poetry. Through doubt, poetry purges itself of rhetorical insincerity, senseless chatter, falsehood, youthful loquacity, empty (inauthentic) euphoria. Released from doubt’s stern gaze, poetry -especially in our dark days- might easily degenerate into sentimental ditties, exalted but unthinking song, senseless praise of all the earth’s forms.

from Adam Zagajewski’s essay collection A Defense of Ardor.


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