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What You Should Know to Be a Poet | Radio Free Mike

What You Should Know to Be a Poet

by Gary Snyder

all you can know about animals as persons.

the names of trees and flowers and weeds.

the names of stars and the movements of planets

and the moon.

your own six senses, with a watchful elegant mind.

at least one kind of traditional magic:

divination, astrology, the book of changes, the tarot;


the illusory demons and the illusory shining gods.

kiss the ass of the devil and eat shit;

fuck his horny barbed cock,

fuck the hag,

and all the celestial angels

and maidens perfum’d and golden –

& then love the human: wives husbands and friends

children’s games, comic books, bubble-gum,

the weirdness of television and advertising.

work long, dry hours of dull work swallowed and accepted

and lived with and finally lov’d. exhaustion,

hunger, rest.

the wild freedom of the dance, extasy

silent solitary illumination, entasy

real danger. gambles and the edge of death.