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Word-Crystals – Little Eternities[1]

Oh Word, thou Word – that I Lack[2]

Many times the Word comes Short of Fact[3]

Words, Words, Words, on Cracked old Pages – how much Truth Remains?[4]

Words cannot be Wholly Transparent – and that is the Heartlessness of Words[5]

My Words are the Garment of what I shall never be – like the Tucked Sleeve of a One-Armed boy[6]

One-Sided is everything that can be Thought with thoughts – and Said in Words[7]

An Unraveling of the Seam/Seem that Stitches World to Word[8]

I don’t think any Word can Explain a man’s Life[9]

Melt into Mush and Watery Welter of Words[10]


Shut in a Tower of Words[11]

Wave Words as if Fanning Gnats[12]

Words come Sharp and with a Jerk[13]

The Words at my disposal are Too Many to me – too

Many to be Arranged into something to say that is still Me[14]

Haven’t you Heard it’s a Battle of Words – the Poster Bearer Cries?[15]

O little Words – how can you run so Straight across the Page beneath the Weight you bear?[16]

Hard Words are First on their lips in the Morning and Last at Night[17]

The Damnèd use that Word in Hell – Howlings attend it[18]

The Supreme Sting – the Casual, Bitter Word[19]

At ev’ry Word a Reputation Dies[20]


A Word is also a Picture of a Word[21]

See the Word as a Shape – a Vessel[22]

The Words my Mind makes of the World[23]

Let us Speak, let us Speak – Silence does not suit us,

Since we have been Created in the Image of the Word[24]

We use what Words we have to Weld – what Words we have Wielded[25]

The Substantial Words are in the Ground and Sea – they are in the Air – they are in You[26]

The only Important question is whether the Word is a Help or a Hin-

Derance in enabling you to Experience that toward which it Points[27]

The Sign Flashes out its Warning in the Words that it is Forming[28]

The Shapes of Words – part of the Furniture of his Mind[29]

I feel the need to hold Transient Life in Words[30]


I need a Word to Signify Exactly what it should[31]

We can’t See anything we don’t have a Word for[32]

The poet Strains his brow searching for a Word that con-

Tains the Typhoon’s force, the secrets of Blood and Seed[33]

Each Word is Drenched to the Bone in the belief it attends to something Solid[34]

Memorize the Word until it means something Fixed – something Beyond its Saying[35]

The right Word is always a Power – and Communicates its Definiteness to our action[36]

Today, as usual, the mind goes Hunting for a Word – one filled with Ve-

Nom, a word sultry with Honey, heavy with Love, smashing with Fury[37]

Forget opinions, being right – Write Words that Retain their Meaning[38]

The World: a Word Intricately Incarnate[39]

Come on Poets – Word it till it’s Yours[40]


Old Fingers twist old Words into Web-Threads[41]

His own Consciousness of language is Ebbing from

His Brain and Trickling into the very Words themselves[42]

Repetition presses Words into slightly altered variations of them-

Selves, turns them from Motionless Disclosers to Dramatic Actors[43]

The Words don’t Illuminate the Poem – the Poem Illuminates the Words[44]

In his mouth the Words become Magnets – which irresistibly Attract other Words[45]

As I write a Single Word – that Word enters a powerful Tradition and Lineage[46]

The Word is the sum of its History ­– Objectified and Indeterminate[47]

Words never stop Connecting one Unlikely thing to another[48]

New Constellations of Meaning Crystallise as Eve-

Ry Word enters into New Relations with another[49]

While I live, I Tend Words – Bridges to others[50]


Go behind the mere Words for an Idea which these

Words have obviously Intended – and Failed – to Say[51]

It is a very misleading Confusion of Words with Reality to

Assume that what cannot be Thought cannot be Experienced[52]

Your Words are a Mystery too – take away the Veil from them at last[53]

The Word begets Presences impossible to confirm given the Blind action of Time[54]

Fashion your weapon from Ambiguous Words – Consign clear words to Lexical Limbo[55]

The Sensation, the Sound – of Words Leaping just beyond our Capacity to know them Certainly[56]

Never Waver in Devotion to those Words ­– the more Incomprehensible, the Better[57]

Words are Dark Stars – some Small and Dull and Solid, some Immense, Complex,

Subtle – with a powerful Gravity-Field that attracts Infinite Meanings to them[58]

Birth is Everywhere – Under and Inward, at the Top of the Tongue and

Trailing the Word as it breaks past any Meaning you would call reason[59]

Words exist for Meaning, but once you Understand
The Meaning – you can Throw Away the Words[60]


What Word can Burn as a Witness for us?[61]

Wrestling with the Transformative Audacity of

Words and deeply affected by their Myriad Vehicles[62]

I dream of a Whole Word which contains the Frag-

Ments of my Self – it waits at the Edge of Language[63]

She speaks each Word as a Stone she builds her Future with[64]

Say the Word and it Vanishes with the sound, but your Senses, your Memory and Know-

Ledge cast back an Echo – Write it on a piece of paper, and it stays there, Unmoving, but

Your Thoughts and Feelings are already on their way to the Farthest corners of the World[65]

There is no Word but the One Wordless absolutely Meaningless and absolutely

Meaningful word that Thunders in the Timeless All-Comprehending Silence[66]

Crossing the Desolate stretch of Land where the Word Drags us, making

Us – and our Wanderings bear Amazed Witness to its Perennial Nature[67]

The Word Flees – a Fugitive Sound, an Exiled Locution located in

A string of letters I receive Part-Forbidden, mostly Re-Arranged[68]

Does each Sign represent a different state of the Tongue, the

Lips, the Throat, the Lungs, as they combine in the Uttering[69]

A single Word wrings Nuance from Everything[70]


Praise Springs Fresh from the Word[71]

Apt Words have Power to ‘Suage the Tumors of a

Troubled Mind, and are as Balm to Festered Wounds[72]

We come to the Resurrection of Words ­– they Rise up

In our mouths, set Free of Taints, Errors and Bad Luck[73]

Discover the Words that Heal – Avoid the Words that Wound[74]

Any Word you see here Defies all Fear Doubt Destruction Ignorance & Hatefulness[75]

A meditation upon the bottomless Trickery of Consciousness and the Redemptive role of Words[76]

He Eats and Drinks the Precious Words – his Spirit grows Robust –

He knows no more that he is Poor nor that his Frame is Dust[77]

A Written Word is the Choicest of Relics[78]

Wreaths of Flowers around the Words[79]

Say the Word – and you’ll be Free[80]


My Words Die as I Speak them[81]

Our Words Inherit Nothing – Beget Nothing[82]

Hurl Words into this Darkness and Wait for an Echo[83]

Words are Quiet like Stains are on a Tablecloth Washed in a River[84]

Words are Vulnerable: Rain, Fire, the Errant Hand, Confusion – all can Assail them[85]

That Word does not Exist in any Language – It will Never be Uttered by a human mouth[86]

If thou hast Heard a Word – let it Die with thee – and be Bold, it will not Burst thee[87]

Why does it Matter so much to have the Last Word? Or any Word?[88]

Like a Leaden Knell the Words come back[89]

Last of all Words Spoken is Goodbye[90]


Repasturing of the Word[91]

Writers, Historians – theirs are the Words that Last[92]

Even the Words we Carelessly Drop are left to Shine

Forever – on the Bottom of the Cold, Clear Afternoon[93]

A Word is the Boot Print in a Square of Fresh Cement[94]

If you can take One Word with you to the Future what is it to be?[95]

Heaven and Earth shall Pass away – but my Words shall not Pass away[96]

Words set in motion for Thousands of Years – Millions of Hearts[97]

Words – Words between the Lines of Age[98]

Words form a Hard Knot that never Rots[99]

Monarch of the Last Word[100]

[1] Charles Wright,Buffalo Yoga Coda II

[2] Arnold Shoenberg, Muses un Aron (tr. original)

[3] Dante Alighieri tr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Inferno

[4] Pete Seeger, Words, Words, Words

[5] George Oppen, Route

[6] W.S. Merwin, When You Go Away

[7] Hermann Hesse tr. Joachim Neugroschel, Siddhartha

[8] Ann Lauterbach, Task: To Open

[9] Herman J. Mankiewicz & Orson Wells, Citizen Kane

[10] W.R. Rodgers, White Christmas

[11] Dylan Thomas, Especially When the October Wind

[12] Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

[13] Gertrude Stein, Three Lives

[14] Italo Calvino tr. William Weaver, Mitosis

[15] Roger Waters, Us and Them

[16] Edna St. Vincent Millay, Renascence

[17] Jack London, The Call of the Wild

[18] William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

[19] William Golding, Lord of the Flies

[20] Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock

[21] quoted by John Bradley in There is a world

[22] William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

[23] Ross Gay, Patience

[24] C.P. Cavafy tr. Rae Dalven, The Word and Silence

[25] Franny Choi, We Used Our Words We Used What Words We Had

[26] Walt Whitman, A Song of the Rolling Earth

[27] Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

[28] Paul Simon, The Sound of Silence

[29] Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

[30] Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginning

[31] Julia B. Levine, Ordinary Pslam with a Four-Letter Word

[32] Katheryn Nuernberger, Translations

[33] Primo Levi tr. Ruth Feldman & Brian Swann, Memorandum Book

[34] Jana Prikryl, Asylum,

[35] Susan Stewart, Talisman

[36] George Eliot, Middlemarch

[37] Faiz Ahmad Faiz tr. Naomi Lazard, Once Again the Mind

[38] Jia Tolentino, Mind No Mind

[39] Denise Levertov, This Day

[40] Rae Armantrout, Flux

[41] Sylvia Plath, The Net-Menders

[42] James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

[43] Angela Leighton, Hearing Things

[44] St. John of the Cross, quoted in Mary Oppen, Meaning a Life

[45] Walter Benjamin tr. Esther Leslie, Franz Hessel, Secret Berlin

[46] Anna Gurton-Wachter, Afterward to Utopia Pipe Dream Memory

[47] Dana Gioia, Disappearing Ink

[48] John Berger, From A to X

[49] Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie, & Sebastian Truskolaski, Walter Benjamin and the Magnetic Play of Words

[50] Circe Maia tr. Jesse Lee Kercheval, Words

[51] Edgar Allan Poe, The Mystery of Marie Rogêt

[52] Alan Watts, Time and Convention

[53] Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Minister’s Black Veil

[54] Li-Young Li, Changing Places in the Fire

[55] Czeslaw Milosz tr. Czeslaw Milosz, Child of Europe

[56] James Longenbach, quoted by Matthew Bevis in Unknowing Lyric

[57] Jacqueline Osherow, My Lookalike at the Krishna Temple

[58] Ursula K. Le Guin, Paradise Lost

[59] Susan Griffin, Home

[60] Philip Kapleau, Zen: Merging of East and West

[61] Paul Celan tr. Nikolai Popov & Heather McHugh, (I know you: you’re the one who’s bent so low

[62] Quaraysh Ali Lansana, Art, Artifice, & Artifact

[63] Alexandra Grilikhes, On Woman Artists

[64] Madeline Miller, Circe

[65] Inger Christenson tr. Susanna Nied, Silk, the Universe, Language, the Heart

[66] Carl, quoted in Zen: Merging of East and West

[67] Edmond Jabès tr. Rosemarie Waldrop, The Desert

[68] Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, Impossible Word: Toward a Poetics of Aphasia

[69] J.M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians

[70] Christina Pugh, The Wheel

[71] Cat Stevens, Morning Has Broken

[72] John Milton, Samson Agonistes

[73] Wendell Berry,Duality

[74] Malka Daskal, Handbook for the Aspiring Ghost

[75] Philip Whalen, Self-Portrait, from Another Direction

[76] Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

[77] Emily Dickinson, He Ate and Drank the Precious Words

[78] Henry David Thoreau, Walden

[79] Katherine Anne Porter, Flowering Judas

[80] John Lennon & Paul McCartney, The Word

[81] Sophocles tr. Theodore Howard Banks, Oedipus the King

[82] Adonis tr. Samuel Hazo, Elegy for the Time at Hand

[83] Richard Wright, Black Boy

[84] Regina Spektor, Man of a Thousand Faces

[85] Jean Joubert tr. Denise Levertov, Wind Script

[86] Talking Heads, Give Me Back My Name

[87] Ecclesiasticus 19:10 (King James)

[88] Joyce Carol Oates, The Blessing

[89] George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

[90] Walter de la Mare, Goodbye

[91] René Char tr. Mary Ann Caws, Man Flees Suffocation

[92] Janet Jennings, An Augury

[93] Tom Hennen, Corn Picking 1956 – Afternoon Break

[94] Terrance Hayes, God is an American

[95] Ariel Dorfman tr. Ariel Dorfman & Edith Grossman, Vocabulary

[96] Matthew 24:35 (King James)

[97] Vladimir Mayakovsky tr. Ruth Herschberger & Marina Prychodko, A Talk With a Tax Collector

[98] Neil Young,Words

[99] Kru proverb

[100] Warsan Shire, Bless Grace Jones

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