The Cold Tap Sings

the p-word

Tag: Padgett Powell



after Padgett Powell

Are the best poems questions or answers?
Can poetry be taught? Who should teach it?
What is the point of that poem about
Plums? If I were to write, for example,
‘Deep in the forest the fern fronds unfurl’,
Would you find it outdated, poetic,
Or plain weird? Is poetry outdated?
What does a poet look like exactly?

Do you think there is sufficient order
In the world to justify perfect rhyme?
What level of disorder, in your view,
Would justify free verse? Do you believe,
As some do, that poets ‘feel’¬†more
Than the average human being? Well?
Are the best poems answers or questions?




‘On a desert island, which strikes me as oxymoronic but the phrase enjoys, I believe, considerable currency, or maybe I confuse it with deserted island, which itself raises a question – namely, has the island once been populated and is only now that you are on it otherwise unpopulated – let us say then on an island all by your own self with nothing to read except one kind of poetry, would you select metaphysical, lyric, language, gift-card, or cowboy poetry?’

Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood (Serpent’s Tail)


Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific

‘Is there anything you might do today that would distinguish you from being just a vessel for consumption and pollution with a proper presence in the herd?’

Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood (Serpent’s Tail)