Literary Birthday – 13 April – Rae Armantrout

Happy Birthday, Rae Armantrout, born 13 April 1947.


  1. Poetry wants to make things mean more than they mean, says someone, as if we knew how much things meant, and in what unit of measure.
  2. Metaphor is ritual sacrifice. It kills the look-alike. No, metaphor is homeopathy.
  3. Poets tend to form loose groups – the “Romantics” or the “Imagists”. And sometimes they write manifestoes in the name of these groups. This can be good. It forces the poet and the audience to think. But it can also be dangerous. It can turn into a branding device so that potential readers believe they know all they need to know once they know you’ve been associated with a certain group or position. It can freeze things in place. That’s where thinking stops.
  4. I tend to like the way poets form communities. Writing can be lonely after all.
  5. Writing is partly about listening closely to yourself as you think or compose and being aware of the different tensions and weights among the words, the different directions any one of them could lead.

Rae Armantrout is an American poet. She is one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets. The author of more than ten collections of poetry, Armantrout has also published a memoir, True. Some of her most recent collections include Versed, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and a 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award; Itself; and Wobble, a finalist for the National Book Award.

Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 12th April 2020