And, of course, these “notes” are part of the poem. Probably. They are, at least, onthe same page and under the same title and go towards making up the experience of reading the poem. (I’ve just realised how boring this statement is. The poems deserve better.)

This stuff’s quick. It looks like what he does is write down just about anything, and it becomes “a poem”. But it’s also considered, and considered carefully. You’ve only got to try this method yourself and see what a mess you make. Re-reading and re-rea-reading reveals (slowly) how carefully these poems are made. Someone has probably already written a thesis about it.

I just spent this afternoon with “Ace”, and it strikes me how I feel very relaxed reading these poems: I’m not struggling to understand them, and I’m not trying to find a narrative line, or even a reason for any of it at all. What I’m doing is surrounding myself with the words. Enjoying being with them. Reading a few lines and getting one “meaning”, then reading them again and finding something else. And enjoying it. Okay, I might be missing loads, but there’s lots of time left to read it again. And again. I think Tom would rather we enjoy the process of reading poems than be able to explain it.

This appreciation of Tom Raworth was first published in The North

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