The heroine of Alice Notley’s noir epic poem is named Ines. This is short for “inessential,” which is what Notley says the poet is, and, really, what we all are.
"I think that poetry is essential in that it’s the essence of what we are. And that, if we could listen to it and find it, we can be healed. We’re all sick. I mean we’re living sick lives — it’s obvious. And we’re killing the planet. But poetry tells us what we’re made out of, really. What our minds are. I mean, we’re minds! We’re not bodies, we’re minds. But we’re minds that evidence themselves as these bodies and these bodies do feel a lot of pain. But so much of it takes place inside here, inside the head. And it can be healed."
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