Saturday, March 04, 2006


JH: Thanks! When, in the writing procedure, whether of sonnets or mesostics, does the author, with taste good or bad, end, and the poem, tasteless always, begin? Is the poem responsible for the (its, perhaps) author's taste? These questions can concern poems written outside of set procedures (free verse). The choice of any form shows intent to display the qualities the chosen form offers, but does the poem have any intent other than to get to the next word and/or have a word reflect upon a previous word?

AHB: I don't know the line between author and poem. The author exerts influence but there's so much that happens without one clearly knowing why that it is too blurry to distinguish. I think in a sense, taste is always bad, insofar as it may be a determined factor (id est: it is bad taste to have good taste). If a poet chooses to write a poem in a form the poem does not wish, that would be bad taste, because yes the poem has responsibility in its own creation. Gosh, that all sounds slick, but I think it is a reasonable, obvious (as in naturally arrived at) viewpoint. The poem wants more than the next word, it wants the right word, because a poem is an organic thing. Having read as comprehensively as I could, as I assume most poets do, I can identify good poems (argh, let's consider that term) even if they don't reflect my taste. One makes choices, of format or manner of composition, but the reason for that choice may not be well thought thru, or the thinking may not even reflect the actual impetus. I've always been on the brainless side of the ledger re writing, which really is not giving myself credit. That I don't have big crunchy theories in hand when I begin writing does not mean I haven't pressed myself intently and intimately into the writing process. Sometimes (do you feel this as well?), the process is so seat of the pants that it becomes unnerving, especially in that I get little outside criticism of my work to bounce against. The process a kind of buddhist loss of self, allowing oneself to float on the energy without getting lost. when I am 'in myself', I may force the poem, exert for the benefit of some audience that, really, I just make up. Anyway, do you have a vision of poetry to be written?


At 11:53 AM, Blogger Tom Beckett said...

Really good segment. It's got me, anyway, thinking about ideas of process and the actual kinds of processes which occur when one is really writing in a zoned-in way.

I still think though, after all these years, that one of the greatest statements about the nature of poetics occurs at the opening of Charles Bernstein's "The Klupzy Girl" (it's in ISLETS/IRRITATIONS):
"Poetry is like a swoon, with this difference:/it brings you to your senses." Because I think what the poem "really wants" is an epiphany.


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