Diane Wakoski’s Idyllwild Lecture

Diane Wakoski’s Idyllwild lecture

July 15, 2013

In continuing to think about Diane Wakoski’s lecture about the secret within the secret of a poem, I’ve reminded myself of how long it took me to find the “secret” that W.C. Williams retained in plain sight in his “Poem” (“As the cat / climbed over ….”). In thinking of that poem again, and of Wakoski’s lecture, I’ve also wondered if one of the sources of Wakoski’s imperative is Yeats’s comment about poetry being rooted in a quarrel with ourselves. If the challenge, according to Wakoski, is to reveal one provisional secret while retaining an essential secret, then perhaps the quarrel grows most contentious when the poet confronts the question of how to disguise their antipodal feints at each other. The more vivid the constitutive metaphor, the more likely the reader’s conviction that the disguise itself has a secret of which even the poet is not aware.