The Direct Gaze Upon the World

Yves Bonnefoy, “The Art of Poetry No 69,” interview by Shusha Guppy, The Paris Review 131 Summer 1994

I completely agree with you that poetry is also a formal use of language. Indeed, only form allows us to hear the tone of the words, and it is precisely because verse is sonorous reality that words in it are no longer subject to the sole authority of conceptual thought. This enables us to perceive reality otherwise than through language. Form in poetry silences the conceptual meaning of words; it is therefore the condition of the direct gaze upon the world.

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