In a sense, poems are not even fair. For instance, they do not always assert what they mean. And the same for pictures. A reader must get meaning through an action, through an act of response. And there are endless combinations of irony possible, and reversals, and second thoughts, and adjustments. Images and words put near each other begin to interact. What a poem says, it keeps on saying, with variations, to any being who keeps on saying and judging too, in his own way.
“Introduction to ‘Since Feeling is First'”, reprinted in Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer’s Vocation by William Stafford
This, of course, reminds me of Emily Dickenson’s “Tell the truth, but tell is slant”:
All truth must dazzle gradually/Or every man be blind
Once I thought of that, my mind went wandering, tossing this idea about. It isn’t coincidence that I used the word tossing, as Stafford wrote about bouncing ideas — and poems — off of backboards! I look forward to reading more essays in this collection; when I start up again, I’ll be on page 9!