Charles Simic on Vasko Popa:
“The comic and mythic strategies are similar, if not identical. The trick is to be literal-minded in the world of multiple metaphors, and fabulous in the face of the literal. The aim is to present the known in terms of the unknown and recover its mythical potential. Popa knows all about that.
“What sets him apart is what I can only call his ‘classicism.’ One might be reading Euclid on the triangle here. He is so deadpan. The usual drama of the Self is completely absent. The archetypal forms that emerge are employed for cognitive ends.”
What is this of the Self being absent? Initially, I’m thinking, “Damn! That sounds great! Where can I get some of that?” But then I realize, in considering what that actually entails for me, and for poetry, that maybe that wrecks something important–to remove the “usual drama of the Self.”