C.D. Wright's book, Cooling Time is one of my touchstones. When another "poetry-is-dead-or-is-it-if-not-let's-poke-it-with-a-stick-to-see" article comes out, I run straight to this book. No apologetic mincing, no "pardon, 'scuse" from a poet clearing his or her throat to be heard above the noise and fray.
"Poetry is tribal, not material. As such it lights the fire and keeps watch over the flame. Believe me, this is where you get warm again. And naked."
Her claims are brave and tonic, prickly and daring in their faith in the word. I grew up on the incantation of John, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Words can create worlds, define them, destroy them. Any number of totems, herbs, and candles remains stage settings until the magician utters the magic words. The dark turn? Control a language, control a people. So what are poets to do in light of all of this?
"Give physical, material life to the words. Record what you see. Rise, walk and make a day." I can think of no better charge.
Back home, the name of a road that crosses a railroad track. Here, a place to keep my verbal play-pretties and whatnot.