Write About a Tree or Trees


W.S. Merwin on what trees can teach us…

They’re everything. They’re a kind of life that is incredibly ancient. People say why ponds and I say ponds are 90 million years old and we don’t know anything about them. All you have to do is just pay a little attention to them and you can be learning from them all the time. You should be feeling a great pleasure in being alive. Trees have these connections between the roots and the leaves. A drop of rain that lands on the leaf of a tree is not the same as the drop that later falls down into the ground. There’s so much about it that we don’t understand and we don’t have to understand it. It’s not about understanding. It’s about our one life, our one and only life.


Edward Abbey - Desert Solitaire

"If a man knew enough he could write a whole book about the juniper tree"

Read more - see PDF attachment.

On Revision

“Before I start to write, the night before—I mean, when I finish work at the end of the day, I go over the pages, the page that I’ve done that day, and I mark it up. And I mark it up and leave it until the morning, and then I make the corrections in the morning, which gives me a way to start the day… I can have a drink at night. And the drink loosens me up enough to actually mark it up, you know. While you’ll just kind of be tense and not sure. Marking up something is just another way of saying editing it. Because you don’t edit very dramatically when you’re—you’re not very hard on yourself, you’re not very loose with yourself most of the day. Really, I have found the drink actually helps.”. - Joan Didion


The Parakeets - Poem by Alberto Blanco

They talk all day
and when it starts to get dark
they lower their voices
to converse with their own shadows
and with the silence.

They are like everybody
—the parakeets—
all day chatter,
and at night bad dreams.

With their gold rings
on their clever faces,
brilliant feathers
and the heart restless
with speech...

They are like everybody,
—the parakeets—
the ones that talk best
have separate cages. 

Read more Alberto Blanco...









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I found no grail. But I did discover the modern tradition. Because modernity is not a poetic school but a lineage, a family dispersed over several continents and which for two centuries has survived many sudden changes and misfortunes: public indifference, isolation, and tribunals in the name of religious, political, academic and sexual orthodoxy. Being a tradition and not a doctrine, it has been able to persist and to change at the same time. This is also why it is so diverse. Each poetic adventure is distinct, and each poet has sown a different plant in the miraculous forest of speaking trees. Yet if the poems are different and each path distinct, what is it that unites these poets? Not an aesthetic but a search.

– Octavio Paz