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Mission Core I: Culture & the Common Good

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Reference Shelf

Poem

How to Be a Poet
by Wendell Berry

   (to remind myself)

i   
Make a place to sit down.   
Sit down. Be quiet.   
You must depend upon   
affection, reading, knowledge,   
skill—more of each   
than you have—inspiration,   
work, growing older, patience,   
for patience joins time   
to eternity. Any readers   
who like your poems,   
doubt their judgment.   
 
ii   
Breathe with unconditional breath   
the unconditioned air.   
Shun electric wire.   
Communicate slowly. Live   
a three-dimensioned life;   
stay away from screens.   
Stay away from anything   
that obscures the place it is in.   
There are no unsacred places;   
there are only sacred places   
and desecrated places.   
 
iii   
Accept what comes from silence.   
Make the best you can of it.   
Of the little words that come   
out of the silence, like prayers   
prayed back to the one who prays,   
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

This poem originally appeared in the January 2001 issue of Poetry magazine.
The Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org

LC Call Numbers

The Fontbonne library uses Library of Congress call numbers to organize its collection. The classification system separates all material into 21 classes, each with its own alphabet letter. These classes are divided into smaller classes, or subclasses, identified by additional letters and numbers.

You can search Fontbonne's library catalog by call number HERE.

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