Saturday, February 17, 2007


JH: Antic View questions result from your questions and answers, together with my recent musings about poetics. In writing poetry, I can no longer tell the question from the deed; to write poetry, for me, is to inquisitively repeat what I've heard in my head so as to ascertain what I've heard, but I receive no confirmation. The poem is overheard by me, but the poem does not hear me as far as I know. Is a poet's history part of writing poetry? One may speculate on the ego-lessness of writing, but if a poet did not know a language there could not be any poems. Language forms the individual, the individual forms poems. Past reading, writing, and thinking comes into play. Is it easier to inform one's reading than to inform one's writing? Reading may be broadened by experience in writing as well as past reading, but may writing be broadened by reading experience without much writing experience? What of someone who listens to poetry, and composes poetry, but cannot read or write? Does an illiterate poet have an advantage over a literate poet in being less literary? How much of the literary is available to one who cannot read or write? Does the literary need to be read, or only seen? An illiterate person sees writing and can define it as something that cannot be read except by some other people: is, then, there such as thing as illiteracy? Such a reading is very literary, as all of writing and reading is seen on the surface, instead of reading the word "cat" and defining it as a specific animal. Poems come to a poet without writing, and are, if the poet is able, written down. Often in the act of writing more of the poem arrives, or more of what is presented by the poet as the poem. If a poet has a lot of experience reading and writing, does the poem, instantly upon arrival in the mind, become literary? Does the poem have a lot of experience reading and writing? Poems have unseen origins, do they also have unseen pasts (aside from drafts, and aside from their poet's history)?

AHB: informing one's reading is natural: you read more, and consider. to inform one's writing entails... what...? seems like you need to jump away from what you've done and what you've read. a receptivity to sharp turns. there's a sort of egolessness there, where you try not to become entrenched in previous assumptions, however brilliant those assumptions might have been. poems, as you say, come to poets without writing. poets transfer these poems into a readable medium. that's a sort of mundane transformation of a philosophical act of understanding. part of a poet's mind in action becomes a poem. makes me think of the idea of being an artist. we all take it seriously. even those who don't appreciate art have an awe, if perhaps a sardonic one, of artists. artists devote themselves to art. how much time do you or I spend a day writing? less time, perhaps, than working, watching television, reading, walking the dog, sleeping, eating, etc. yet writing is a way that we understand the entire world. it is our lens but it is also our guidance. writing is not just what we do but an intrinsic component to our living. we meet with poems daily, maybe “all the time”. I mean there's a way to see poetry, or any art form, as an entertainment, something to fill time with interest. but as artists we've taken a worldview. little does my dog know that when I walk him, I do so as a poet. there's that common statement artists tend to make, that they couldn't live without their art. there's a sense where that's not true, if your life's terms weren't available to doing art. yet people make art in prison camps. art presents itself. the poem wants to be written, or at least acknowledged. I can't write all the poems that come to me. it's like meteorites flashing by. sometimes I see more than the flash and trail. I see the poem's life, its history, its reading. I have acknowledged influences, which can include negative ones (I surely won't write like that poet). but poems make themselves known that I can't ascribe a history to in that way. almost a chance intersection. the sky, you might imagine, is full of these poems.


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