Ryo Yamaguchi Recommends...

Ryo Yamaguchi

“Above my desk are the famous lines from Wallace Stevens: ‘In the world of words, / Imagination is one of / The forces of nature.’ Kant would be proud. Or maybe it’s a matter of surrender (while I write this the rains are sweeping like the simplest of songs across the West Side of Chicago). And yet all I can suggest as inspiration is this: practice. Practice is its own kind of surrender, a surrender to the same. Pound would be disappointed. But I think of our good work—the work readers of Poets & Writers Magazine do every single day—as that: a routine, an exercise, a repetition that incrementally seeks. The flexion of image, and sound. The flexion of intent, and understanding. So I work out a line about pelicans, and three days later now they are skimming across a lake that looks like a silicon disc. Nature is the sun rising and falling and rising—intermittent fog. Do you want an example? Watch Werner Herzog’s documentary on the eponymous ski jumper: The Great Ecstasy of the Woodcarver Steiner. Better yet, just watch the opening. The flight, the suspension, the breath held and the body aligned. That is practice. In its terror and beauty. In its accord.”
—Ryo Yamaguchi, author of The Refusal of Suitors (Noemi Press, 2015)

Photo credit: Kate Goddard