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About the book:

In The Poet's Notebook readers are privy to memories, dreams, reflections, poems, and overheard conversations as recorded in the notebooks of 26 contemporary American poets who subscribe to Somerset Maugham's belief that "the mere habit of notebook keeping might make the writer more observant." Donald Hall compares writing (favorably, it lasts longer) to orgasm. William Matthews ponders a Dylan bootleg, envying the musician his ability "to turn one's work inside out, mock it, vamp it, make it both new and continuous with its former versions" (a published poem is, well, published). Liz Rosenberg likens a poem to a baby, because both are "self-absorbed and containing ... the universal breath, and needing constant tiny cares and adjustments." And Lisel Mueller invokes Yehuda Amichai's demand that "every poem should be the last poem, written as if it contained the last thing the poet would ever say, shaped to contain a condensation of all the messages of his or her life." Whew. If you keep your own "compost heap," as poet Rosanna Warren calls her poet's notebook, pick up a spare; yours will surely be filled by book's end.

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