Poetry is a controlled refinement of sobbing

An idea from the narrator of Nicholson Baker’s book The Anthologist (2009):

Isn’t crying a good thing? Why would we want to give pills to people so they don’t weep? When you read a great line in a poem, what’s the first thing you do? You can’t help it. Crying is a good thing. And rhyming and weeping—there are obvious linkages between the two. When you listen to a child cry, he cries meter. When you’re an adult, you don’t sob quite that way. But when you are little kid, you go, “Ih-hih-hih-hih, ih-hih-hih-hih.” You actually cry in a duple meter.

Poetry is a controlled refinement of sobbing. We’ve got to face that, and if that’s true, do we want to give drugs so that people won’t weep? No, because if we do, poetry will die.

Tell me you sob. Tell me our poetry lives.

What have you read, writer, that made you weep?


14 thoughts on “Poetry is a controlled refinement of sobbing”

  1. i read mahmud alaqad, gubran, abu madi, hesse, old as new-time enjoyment, no one same,
    I cried when my own self-written
    zbs, an encounter with racism in an educational palace
    I thought of warmth of strong, manly bodies that were caught as a very good commodity for the slave market.
     no educational paths are allowed. in between there are 400 years of history and people quickly forget the fish is in the sea and not in artificial pools,
    The same is true if I wanted to help a blind man, he does not want that because he sees it better than other people. thank you soon.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>!!!((*L*));:_;:_;:_!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yes and no, yes as a schoolboy, I got a painting job from an art teacher, I should get it the word good and the word evil. to paint. Here it all began, looking for book shelves, for solution, it was a great lesson. and no I have no books, (library always open)> in the past> More everything 10 years unintentionally my books have lost? !! .. and I still have shelf in my brains !!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit that I haven’t read much poetry. Not nearly enough, at any rate.
    However, fiction, and the telling of a character’s toils and challenges has caused me to break down in tears from time to time.
    What makes you weep?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The scene from ‘Sons and Lovers’ where Paul’s mother is dying from cancer — I think I’ve got that right — really broke me up. I wrote a poem about it which has been published a few times based on Les Murray’s ‘An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow.’ Perhaps I should find it and post it on my blog


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