it's music that determines the outcome

In his poem, 'Out of delusion,' Franz Wright says, 'I speak in the mask of the first person.' Inner voices, outer masks. No wonder poets can scare their neighbours, every new poem another trick or treat. But it's true: No poet is strong enough, smart enough, mad enough to think that they alone can add up to a worthwhile poem. It takes so much more than a memory or a story. The inner voice has to agree with you; it has to start exercising its unreasonable, exhilarating demands...

If there's one thing I've learned about writing, it's that the letter I has minimal power. The voice says Here and the right pronoun eventually follows. But it's music that determines the outcome, the form that decides who and what will be allowed in.

- Barry Dempster, from his "Notes on Writing" essay for Event Magazine (Spring/Summer 2010)as collected in 50 Years of Event Magazine: Collected Notes on Writing.

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