the word for the inability to find the right word, leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not the 20 volume OED, I need, nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers equals only, never discovery. I accept the fallibility of language, its spastic elasticity, its jake-leg, as well as prima ballerina, dances. I accept that language can be manipulated towards deceit (ex.: The Mahatmapropaganda, i.e., Goebbels); I accept, and mourn, though not a lot, the loss of the dash/semi-colon pair. It’s the sound of a pause unlike no other pause. And when the words are tedious and tedious also their order—sew me up in a rug and toss me in the sea! Language is dying, the novel is dying, poetry is a corpse colder than the Ice Man, they’ve all been dying for thousands of years, yet people still write, people still read, and everyone knows that nothing is really real until it is written. Until it is written! Even those who cannot read know that.
About this Poem
"The poem began with the title. Then I was annoyed by one of the occasional poetry-is-dead articles. Then I refute that notion."
Thomas Lux is the author of several books of poetry, including To the Left of Time (Mariner Books, 2016) and New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
Date Published: 2014-02-07
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/onomatomania