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“Sometimes I think that there is no poetry written without the intervention of the dead. It’s their voices speaking to you that allow you to find words from nowhere; they are the muse. I’m from the Mojave Desert; there are a lot of cranks there. I don’t usually tell people, but every once in a while I feel like telling them. Because everything else that’s said about poetry is so boring and trivial. And if I say I represent the dead, your head has to kind of turn, and you have to think about something besides poetics. Poetics! As if how people say poetry should be written is of any consequence at all or any importance. Critics create value. We don’t need any value, we need poetry.”

-Alice Notley, from Between the Living and the Dead: An Interview with Alice Notley – Shoshana Olidort – Los Angeles Review of Books – December 25, 2016

Millions of Us
Alice Notley
Purportedly a chain of civilians, soldiers, voices
lice they were called. It is sometimes sufficient to beg
Lice creeping over one, kill them with a chemical;
then there are lice-ghosts everywhere. Glints of pearly
nails. The light of my beloved will keep me from noticing.