a patch of profound and unbroken solitude


Autumn is here, and I have started writing critiques again. After a sabbatical year of self-indulged writing, I’m going to my assignments with a stronger literary awareness, which hopefully also will profit my readers.

A critic is not a poet, or need not be, but if you are a writer, writing is what you do, and you better try your best:

It is no use thinking that writing of poems – the actual writing – can accommodate itself to a social setting, even the most sympathetic social setting of a workshop composed of friends. It cannot. The work improves there and often the will to work gets valuable nourishment and ideas. But, for good reasons, the poem requires of the writer not society or instruction, but a patch of profound and unbroken solitude.

Mary Oliver: A Poetry Handbook

– and I find Oliver’s advice to be very true, also for an ordinary writer: writing requires of the writer not society or instruction, but a patch of profound and unbroken solitude.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. KM Huber says:

    Indeed it does, Sigrun. Beautiful post.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you Karen, I love reading Oliver, such a wise woman!

  2. I’ve finally gotten around to reading Susan Cain’s book on “introverts” (Quiet)…in which she offers not just artists’ and writers’ observations about the need for solitude and quiet space in which to concentrate the mind but also psychologists’ and neurologists’ understanding of the reflective process.

    So the science confirms what for thousands of years we have already understood!

    1. Sigrun says:

      but still its important that some comes around to connect the two branches of life in an understandable language – .
      And now we can point to her very explicable book – and say: I’m not shy, I’m not impolite – I just need some time and space to live & think & write.

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