[To learn what to say to unlearn]

By Michael Palmer b. 1943 Michael Palmer
To learn what to say to unlearn
The order of islands here

The number of fingers
made from ideas

certain      Bulgaria   anywhere
grounds    stairway   statement

normal      nature      cases
Visitors from the Dog Star

filling up the house
Words for are and were not

If I knew it it’s what I thought
If I knew it it’s what I thought

If I knew it it’s what I thought
it was

Michael Palmer, "[To learn what to say to unlearn]" a part from The Book Against Understanding from The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995. Copyright © 1998 by Michael Palmer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: The Lion Bridge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)

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Poet Michael Palmer b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Michael Palmer was born in New York City and educated at Harvard in the early 1960s, where he encountered Confessional poetry. His opposition to Confessionalism found root in a developing poetics when he attended the landmark 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, a three-week gathering where he met Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Clark Coolidge. Correspondence with those three poets greatly influenced Palmer’s early development . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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