Monday, October 03, 2005


JH: I like to witness interesting things too, especially when they appear beneath my pencil. I was talking about consciousness, and you answered it well: sure, witness, thoughts, identifying, interesting, absorb, look, symbol, unnerving, scared, bejesus, having, hold on, preparing, think, suppose, hours, day, writing, feel, enumerate, ways, detach, etc, etc. I sometimes feel like a writer when the pen is not in my hand, but mostly like a reader in search of texts, which often leads to the act of writing. I was going to add "like" to the above list and got sidetracked by thoughts of simile. What are your thoughts on simile, metaphor, and analogy? The key to poetry? Is all literature ultimately comparison? Or untimely comparison? Does time, in the sense of timely, what is contextually apt, play the most important part in allusion?

AHB: When I'm doin' nuthin', like walking the dog, waiting in a waiting room, riding a bus or plane, I 'write', which is to say think 'about' things. I wanted to add that, that my mind chatters away like that. As does everyone's, but there's a sort of professional status to it for me, and presumably other writers. I know that wariness is in order with comparisons. For one thing, the good ones become cliched as easy as kiss my hand, and for a 2nd thing, they may not mean what was intended. A lot of crummy poetry (School of Quietude, I daresay) seems to wallow in what I can only assume is unconsidered similes. These similes live only for cheesy rupture in expectation (cheesy because it is no rupture, it's part of a literary form) they provide. But for all that, I love similes and metaphors. Or, at least, I love those that set me back on my heels. I do not enjoy symbols, find them an attempt at control that I think writers are not capable of. Or few can handle with complete resilience and resonance. Reading Mallarme, which I've done in the original as well as in translation, I feel like I'm missing something. Much of that owes to my ability with French, and that of the translators, but it's also my sensitivity to symbols. I rather like Mallarme even so, but clearly aint his best reader. If my own writing has resonance, it would be because of a metaphorical sort of emotional connection. That the poem is an emotional moment, passed from or thru me to the reader. Not that the poem is an emotion, but the words so gathered are a reflection. I hate getting into these territories because it so often sounds hokey. But I am witness to the emotion I felt in writing, and also to the emotion witnessed in reading. Emotion being the carrying energy, and not so simply happiness, sadness, anger or such. The artistic transfer proceeds thru such metaphor. I think. Do you?


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