Prose 31

By Michael Palmer b. 1943 Michael Palmer

The Logic of Contradictions

A logical principle is said to be an empty
or formal proposition because it can add
nothing to the premises of the argument it
governs. This leads to the logic of contra-
dictions. It is an anacoluthon to say that
a proposition is impossible because it is
self-contradictory. (It is also ambiguous.)
The definition of the possible as that which
in a given state of information (real or
pretended) we do not know not to be true
conceals another anacoluthon.

Michael Palmer, "Prose 31" a part from Series 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


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse


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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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Sciences, Language & Linguistics


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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