Monday, June 3, 2013

Wonderful quote by Pablo Neruda

Couldn't resist sharing this quote I saw on the Teachers and Writers Collaborative Facebook page by the great Pablo Neruda.

In two short paragraphs it seems to sum up so many aspects of writing, both prose and poetry. It's a powerful illustration of why 'show don't tell' matters in writing, not just because it's  a technique to master in order to make your work more immediate and alive, but because of the physical, emotional and spiritual resonance of all our interactions with the world, and with the way these interactions shape and change us and the world. I particularly love the phrase, like a text for troubled lyricists.

Ah, to have such insight and eloquence...

"It is good, at certain hours of the day and night, to look closely at the world of objects at rest. Wheels that have crossed long dusty distances with their mineral and vegetable burdens, sacks from the coal bins, barrels and baskets, handles and hafts for the carpenter's tool chest. From them flow the contacts of man with the earth, like a text for all troubled lyricists. The used surfaces of things, the wear that the hands give to things, the air, tragic at times, pathetic at others, of such things - all lend a curious attractiveness to the reality of the world that should not be underprized.

In them one sees the confused impurity of the human condition, the massing of things, the use and disuse of substances, footprints and finger prints, the abiding presence of the human engulfing all artifacts, inside and out.

Let that be the poetry we search for: worn with the hands obligations, as by acids, steeped in sweat and in smoke, smelling of lilies and urine, spattered diversely by the trades we live by, inside the law or beyond it."

(Pablo Neruda, quoted in, Illuminations: Great Writers on Writing,