We turn from the light to see.

— Don Paterson

The most sentimental Don Paterson quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

Imagine your shadow burning off the page / As the dear world and the dead word disengage

5

Poetry, unlike music, is a meta-art, and relies upon non-physical structures for the production of its effects. In its case, the medium is syntax, grammar and logical continuity, which together form the carrier-wave of plain sense within which its deeper meanings are broadcast.

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There's no fury more righteous than that of a sinner accused of the wrong sin.

2

Inconveniently, books are all the pages in them, not just the ones you choose to read.

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So we start with an oversignifying reader.

Those texts that appear to reward this reader for this additional investment - text that we find exceptionally suggestive, apposite, or musical - are usually adjudged to be 'poetic'. ... The work of the poet is to contribute a text that will firstly invite such a reading; and secondly reward such a reading.

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The poem, in a sense, is no more or less than a little machine for remembering itself ... Poetry is therefore primarily a commemorative act.

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Mediocre art is far worse than bad art. Bad art does not waste our time.

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We could easily have evolved eyelids thick enough to keep out the light, but we still need to see the shadows fall across them. We're not yet safe.

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Lakoff's idea is that most of our thought is guided by underlying conceptual mappings between two domains that share some content, that overlap in the sets of their attributes. ... Contrary to the assertions of Lakoff and some of the cognitive metaphor theorists, people can read through to an underlying mapping, but only when the surface metaphor is new to them.

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This capacity for oversignifying, for reading in, is precisely what poets tap into, both in their own practice and in the poem the give to the reader; and in doing so they turn language against its own project of conceptual division, and use it to heal itself - and in the process - paradoxically - to articulate new concepts that it can't yet accommodate.

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