(...to continue last weeks Quoet...) "Whatever shape it takes, this kind of movement is what makes a poem feel like an act of discovery rather than an act of recitation—an event that happens of the page rather than a recounting of an event that happened prior to the page." --James Longenbach
(For my buddy, Jeremy, because we were talking about it…and I finally found it…..just not where I was looking for it.)
"This phrase sounds as if it comes out of nowhere, as if the poem is discovering itself at the precise moment we are reading it." "Which is what every great poem does." ---James Longenbach
I am often struck (dumb?…or perhaps ‘struck’ like a bell!)
by the thought that words carry with them haunting constellations of spirits,
the meanings, associations, undertones, overtones, subtle reverberations, cultural references,….
“In description words adhere to certain objects, and have the effect on the sense of oysters, or barnacles.”
–W. C. Williams
…and that these constellations, just like spirits–like ghosts–are always changing
their disposition, their demeanor, and yes their meaning and intention.
“And the good writer chooses his words for their ‘meaning’, but that meaning is not a set, cut-off thing like the move of knight or pawn on a chess-board. It comes up with roots, with associations, with how and where the word is familiarly used, or where it has been used brilliantly or memorably.”
They go from well-intentioned to demonic in a blink of context,
a switch that can be flipped and tripped again, and yet….
“A labor no less difficult, no less phantasmagoric than alchemy. But then, of course, the condition of the lyric is the belief in the impossible.”
…they are still just words, not even real “things” which is what perhaps makes them all the more haunting, for in their vagueness, their lack of reality…
“Words mean something because they always threaten to sound like something else.”
…plus rambles from a Crabby John…
…since I haven’t done this in a while…
“Poetry is the language of a state of crisis.”
Poetry is language losing itself in itself, losing itself in words.
“Similarly, Joyce suggensts that readers of Ulysses ought not to forget narrative context even when language is made to seem like nothing but sound. Of course the seduction of sound is paramount; poetry cannot exist without it. But we ignore the seduction of plain sense, Joyce suggests, at our own peril. The pleasure of Ulysses is that Joyce takes neither of these seductions for granted, forcing us to become aware of the kind of work we do when making sense of any linguistic utterance. Words mean something because they always threaten to sound like something else.”
—James Longenbach, The Art of The Poetic Line
language is an intrusion into the psyche
it is our intrusion into the world
a failure to understand where our power lies
“Dissonance / (if you are interested) / leads to discovery.”
—William Carlos Williams
this animal called language
has begun to feed on itself