Archie Randolph Ammons

(18 February 1926 – 25 February 2001 / Whiteville, North Carolina)

Quotations

  • ''no arranged terror: no forcing of image, plan,
    or thought:
    no propaganda, no humbling of reality to precept:
    terror pervades but is not arranged, all possibilities
    of escape open: no route shut,''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 114-118). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • ''risk is full: every living thing in
    siege: the demand is life, to keep life: the small
    white blacklegged egret, how beautiful, quietly stalks and spears
    the shallows, darts to shore
    to stab—''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 70-74). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''I have reached no conclusions, have erected no boundaries,
    shutting out and shutting in, separating inside
    from outside: I have
    drawn no lines:''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 41-44). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''the possibility of rule as the sum of rulelessness:''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 92). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''but Overall is beyond me: is the sum of these events
    I cannot draw, the ledger I cannot keep, the accounting
    beyond the account:''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 30-32). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''the walk liberating, I was released from forms,
    from the perpendiculars,
    straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds
    of thought
    into the hues, shadings, rises, flowing bends and blends
    of sight:''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 13-18). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''to fasten into order enlarging grasps of disorder, widening
    scope, but enjoying the freedom that
    Scope eludes my grasp, that there is no finality of vision,
    that I have perceived nothing completely,
    that tomorrow a new walk is a new walk.''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Corsons Inlet (l. 124-128). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''The wonderful workings of the world: wonderful,
    wonderful: I'm surprised half the time:''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Cut the Grass (l. 1-2). . . Harper Anthology of Poetry, The. John Frederick Nims, ed. (1981) Harper & Row.
  • ''the ocean, multiple to a blinding
    oneness''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Cut the Grass (l. 14-15). . . Harper Anthology of Poetry, The. John Frederick Nims, ed. (1981) Harper & Row.
  • ''only total expression

    expresses hiding: I'll have to say everything
    to take on the roundness and withdrawal of the deep dark:
    less than total is a bucketful of radiant toys.''
    Archie Randolph Ammons (b. 1926), U.S. poet. Cut the Grass (l. 15-18). . . Harper Anthology of Poetry, The. John Frederick Nims, ed. (1981) Harper & Row.

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Design

The drop seeps whole
from boulder-lichen
or ledge moss and drops,

joining, to trickle,
run, fall, dash,
sprawl in held deeps,

to rush shallows, spill
thin through heights,
but then, edging,

to eddy aside, nothing
of all but nothing's
curl of motion spent.

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