(Many thanks to KB and Tiffany for showing me where to go with this one. It’s not their fault I ramble so…I’m not always good at following directions…and besides, they probably had no idea…they were undoubtedly just pointing at trees or something and I, of course, said, “Yes! That way! Of Course!” and went crashing off into the trees…)
“What if the delight in poetic form were actually a delight in and return to infantile sensualities?”
“…we see that what is childlike and infantile lies in the form, what is adult in the content. Content and form then make two poles, across which the magnetic energy of the poem arches.”
“The form pole pulls the poem back then toward infancy, the content pole pulls it forward into adulthood. Adulthood seems to be the recognition that there are others in the universe besides you, greater causes and greater beings. the poem surely needs character–the drive forward into experiences–probably embodying pain–that the infant never dreams of in his crib.”
…and this is why–in that arching electric zone of contact and conflict–
…and precisely where–in that very place within
where mind meets body…
“where the reader’s mind reaches toward something heard or uttered as though vocality were one of the senses.”
…where mind meat’s body, where inspiration mixes into the elixir of expiration, where fantasy confronts reality, where…
“…the social realm is invoked with a special intimacy at the barely voluntary level of voice itself.”
…where, in the beating of the suffering heart…
“Embarrassment–a halting consciousness of other people, the sudden barricade of social awareness, obstructing emotion and threatening to take over the mind–is in a way the most basic, irreducible manifestation of social reality.”
…the blossom of suffering…
“To be thrown back “forever” on oneself alone suggests a degree of mobility, a freedom from constraint and dependence, that is potentially exhilarating as well as deranging: a liberation, as well as a void.”
…becomes the creative act…
…and poetry leads to compassion…
“The path itself does not lie there waiting for you to walk along it. It needs to be cultivated, nurtured—literally, “brought into being.” Such a path might open up in a revealing moment of insight, only to be lost again through subsequent neglect. To believe in a path is not enough. One has to create and maintain it. The practice of the eightfold path is a creative act.”
…for this path we walk…
…this path we all walk…
…is always walked alone…
…this we remember as we walk…
“where the reader’s mind reaches toward something heard or uttered as though vocality were one of the senses.” simply hmm and *nods*
It feels like the path was there all along. But the path only came into being because your feet were walking there.
Ah yes Alice, indeed…which leads me to another quote by Mr. Batchelor…
well dang….i’m still trying to find it….
The greatest delusion cultivated by the mind since switching from an oral culture to a written culture is when a person “thinks” they “know” something merely because they have the ability to find information if they need it.
Poetry is a safety net in all this arrogance.
Thank you for Robert Bly’s quote, Gravity. And I enjoyed your verbal dance…. a balm to my ruffling feathers….
This reminds me of exactly another quote by Bly in the same essay:
“Form and content are magnetic opposites. Charles Olson wonderfully understood that American poetic form could not be an imitation of English form, and that the roots of form go back to the body and its breath, not to English metrical habits. It seems though that he wanted the form to be adult–he was interested in the time after the invention of the typewriter, rather than the primitive time before the baby or the aborigine has ever seen a typewriter.”(!!!!!!!)
How’s that for being on the same wavelength?!
I think I see where you were trying to get to. Great quotes and an even greater idea behind choosing them.>KB
Thank you KB–it was very late. I was very tired. This idea is revolving all around be and sometimes hard for me to pin down, and it is developing as I watch. This post was kind of slapped together, I’m afraid, but I really wanted to get it out there before it slipped away…
“the poem surely needs character–the drive forward into experiences–probably embodying pain–that the infant never dreams of in his crib.” This quote is such a punch to the gut. Great melding of quotes and your thoughts. Keep crashing off into the trees. 😉
Oh. I intend too.
This is a terrific group of poets you’re quoting from.
I really like what J.H. White said about oral vs print culture and about poetry as a “safety net in all this arrogance.” I think she really pegs and I like how you sparked this dialogue.
Thanks J–and as to JH’s comment and yours, I think that still, we are speaking of that cusp, that turgid confluence of ignorance and knowledge, and being aware of its constant presence.