At Blackwater Pond

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At Blackwater Pond by Mary Oliver
CD $18.95

Apr 01, 2006 | 60 Minutes

  • CD $18.95

    Apr 01, 2006 | 60 Minutes

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Much of the work of the poet is a mystery, but the last labor is clear; it is the deliverance of the poem. Often this happens through a manuscript or a book, but it can occur in a vocal way also. Has everyone at some time looked up the original meaning of performance? It means, says Webster, ‘to finish, to complete.’ The poem is meant to be given away, best of all by the spoken presentation of it; then the work is complete. Which makes performance sound, does it not, like part of the life-work of the poem, which I think it is. As if the poem itself had an independent life, or the endless possibility of its own life, in minds other than the poet’s, which I think it has.–Mary Oliver, from “Performance Note,” an original essay first published in At Blackwater Pond

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