Gertrude Stein (Sacred Emily, 1913)


“When asked what she  meant by ‘a rose is a rose is a rose’, a line she first used in slightly different form in the poem ‘Sacred Emily’, she explained that in the time of Homer, or even of Chaucer, when the language was still new, ‘the poet could use the name of a thing and the thing was really there’. But through overuse and overfamiliarity, names lost their identities, which she was trying to recover. She boasted, ‘I think in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years’. (‘Lecture at Chicago’)
(...) In ‘Poetry and Grammar’, she explains that she was trying to re-create things by calling ‘them by their names with passion’ and ‘struggled desperately’ to avoid ‘nouns as nouns’ - as sterile and debased signifiers.”

in THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY POETRY, Vol 1, Modern Poetry
ed. Jahan Ramazani, Richard Ellmann, Robert O’Clair – (p. 177, 3th edition)

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