“There is only one law for the poet—tell the truth! For years you try to write, and at last you are faced with two alternatives—either write what is acceptable, or tell the truth. If you write what you really think, you will find yourself in a lonely place. But if you are serious about it—and if you’re not, you aren’t a poet at all—you must get to that place sooner or later. The sooner the better.”— Louis Simpson
—From “On Being a Poet in America,” an essay included in A Company of Poets by Louis Simpson (University of Michigan Press, 1981).
[“An Elegant Epigraph” serves as the recurring title for a continuing series of posts with entries containing brief but engaging, eloquent, and elegant excerpts of prose commentary introducing subjects particularly appropriate to discussion of literature, creative writing, or other relevant matters addressing complementary forms of art and music. These apposite extracts usually concern topics specifically relating to poetry or poetics. Each piece is accompanied by a recommendation that readers seek out the original publication to obtain further information and to become familiar with the complete context in which the chosen quotation appeared as well as other views presented by its author.]