I don’t think I can speak at sufficient length about the importance to the poet of avoiding or ignoring Kodak moments. If a poet seeks to make or keep memories, how will she ever know which ones contain true power, which would assert themselves on their own? Perhaps her very definition of memory would change if she didn’t get her Kodak moments developed. Maybe memory would not hold individual scenes at all; maybe it would have no detail; maybe it would not rise up—the pines of that morning in Yosemite scraping the interior of her skull; maybe it would be nacreous, layered regions of pleasure and attraction in the mind. Any sense of tint in the depth of the gleam would arise so slowly as to be imperceptible. I am speaking of the memory that might result from repetition. I am interested in the long ways of knowing where the mind does not seek strangeness. We must be less in love with foreground if we want to see far.
- Kay Ryan, from her essay "Notes on the Danger of Notebooks", originally published in Parnassus Review and included in her essay collection Synthesizing Gravity: Selected Prose. You can read the whole essay here.