In Notes on the Poet, John Poch revives the ancient but little-practiced art of the aphorism. Like prayer ribbons, these compressed utterances are tied to that space between reading and writing, poet and poem, life and art, making up a “little book of criticism,” but criticism with an artist’s insight: “A poem is like a child’s plow. A toy for toil,” Poch writes. His eye for the poetic image and ear for the turn of phrase display the focused wisdom of an accomplished poet-critic. In the spirit of Robert Bresson’s Notes on the Cinematographer, and in conversation with that work on the art of filmmaking, Notes on the Poet offers an original vision of the poetic craft, part advice to young poets, part commentary on the state of poetry, part meditation on the implications of practicing such an art. 

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John Poch is the author of seven collections of poems. He is Professor of English at Grace College.