I'm aware that I'm making sourdough out of old ideas here. Kenneth cited often a particular remark of Paul Valery's, exempli gratia in this interview in the Times with Allen Ginsberg:
Q. Santa Claus, in your play, in a scene in Shanghai, says: "·There in the North/ Is where the Slimy Green Things Are." How come a guy your age is writing plays about "We must find the Slimies."
A. It's not necessarily a man my age who wrote that. Paul Valery says that "A poem is written by someone not the poet to someone who is not the reader." Furthermore, confess, Allen, that you would be more afraid if you were awakened in the middle of the night by the words "The slimy green things are here" than by the words "a group of retaliatory anti-missile warheads have been sighted near Albany," whatever that means.
Q. I confess I never thought of that. How wise you are, Kenneth Koch.
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