The Bigness of Small Poems – # 8 in a Series – Gregory Orr

American poet Greg Orr

American poet Greg Orr

Note to self: remember
What Emerson said
of Thoreau—
That he loved the low
In nature:
And crickets, suckers
And frogs.
                   Not stars.

Songs of the carnal,
Songs of what we are.

Gregory Orr (1947 - ) from River Inside the River, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013

Greg Orr’s recent small poems fit so well into my series of small poems! Since 2003, when a mysterious line entered his head one morning, he has focused on epigrammatic small poems ( in three full-length collections and a chapbook). I cherish these poems. The poem above is typical of this poetic outpouring.

This is not my first post on Orr. He is a favorite of mine. Not just for his poems but also his idea, expressed wonderfully in a book of assays that poetry is a way to survive our lives! And their chaos, joys and sorrows. He means it! Poetry has played a central role in his surviving a horrific moment when he shot his brother in an hunting accident when he was twelve years old. For a link to a previous post on Orr click here.

In an interview in Image Journal he explains how his small poems originated:

In the winter of 2003, I woke to a phrase in my head: “the book that is the resurrection of the body of the beloved, which is the world.” I intuited that it was referring to that repository of poems and songs that dramatize what it is to be a person, and I felt inspired to explore its further implications.

I need to make a note like this from his poem, to myself! To remember the things of this earth and in that remembering remember myself. My body! How much it has to tell me if I will turn off my mind long enough to hear!

One Comment

  1. Liz
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Great choice Richard!!

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