Fred Marchant: The "innocence" of the word "spill" is a political construct or artifact. I don't yet have the exact word for what this event is, but it is more than a spill, is closer to a bleed and a wound, and is certainly representative of a deep violation of our compact with each other and our compact with life on the planet.And then a little later, this from Patricia Smith:
Strange that I became a poet, since I was raised not to trust language or, for that matter, anything I was seeing. I was raised by a woman who was convinced that the moon landing was staged in an Arizona desert. Growing up on the west side of Chicago--the part of town everyone told you to stay away from--language was used not so much to communicate, but to keep us in our place. The "national insurance" my parents paid every week was nothing but a white, outstretched hand. Our "modern urban development" was a slum, plain and simple. I learned early that soft language almost always hid hard edges.--from "The Way We Learn to Look: A conversation with Nick Flynn, Brenda Hillman, Dorianne Laux, Fred Marchant, Laura Mullen, and Patricia Smith," Gulf Coast, Winter/Spring 2011.
So I don't look at the pretty pictures, or even the murky shots of the underwater spew. I look beneath everything I hear. That's where I find the verbs and nouns that nobody wants to use.