Growing Out of My Thesaurus

I didn’t think I was a poser in my relationship with words until I read this: “If you write a poem with the aid of a thesaurus, you will almost inevitably look like a person wearing clothes chosen by someone else.”

That’s Mark Doty in his interview for The Writer’s Chronicle. At first, I called bullshit. I remembered that old Breton saying—that words make love with each other—and figured what better way to get some (inspiration) than with some logo-erotica; and what better place to find that sorta thing than the one where expressions, locutions, appellations rub up against each other in orgy-big numbers?

But I think Mark Doty’s talking about when you use a thesaurus to find big words you wouldn’t otherwise understand—not word porn. And if that’s the case, I think I probably agree.

Mike Roche is a poet in Virginia Tech’s MFA program. He’s working on getting some publishing credentials.

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