Thinking about the line as a moment said exactly what I’ve been trying to articulate about poetry for a while. What draws me to poetry is something about the way that words and lines work as units that provide something intangible and sentient to me as a reader. For example, I’ve always been fascinated with the word “geography”—the way it looks, the connotations it brings, and the way that for some reason, it reminds me of my second grade Montessori classroom back in South Florida, and an image of a map on the wall. This is a very specific, nostalgic memory (and feeling) that is evoked by just one word that is only marginally related to the original content of the word.
Ríos’s interpretation of the “long line” is key: “[They are] lines that are long in their moment, that make me linger and give me the effect of having encountered something, something worth stopping for—the antithesis of our times, which seem to be all about getting somewhere else, and fast, we’re late already.” For Rios, the line is something we need to stop and appreciate. This is especially timely for me in a very personal way. After spending the summer recovering from a rough academic year, the concept of being mindful and honing in on a moment is both comforting and inspiring. It makes me want to write more as a practice of mindfulness in addition to an artistic practice.