Friday, February 23, 2007


JH: A negative influence is a fascinating idea! Is an after-image of the unappealing contained in avoidance, or is this not an after-image/memory, but the unappealing revealing itself as unavoidable? Something visible is meant to be seen, by definition of "visible" rather than "meant" as synonym of "fated". To turn a blind eye is selection, whether visceral or analytical. I agree that more than a flash and trail of a meteorite is needed for a poem, but why is the flash, or trail, not enough for a poem? Is a poem defined as "idea + X"? What is X? Writing? Writing as converting perception into words is not enough for a poem - what is enough? Or is it that perception alone has too much to include poetry, but there are some perceptions with something missing that poetry tries to supply? Or is what is missing from such a perception specifically a poem? We have yet to speak about the English language and its relation to poetry. What do you think are some characteristics of English that are favorable to poetry? Do you think English is more favorable to prose or poetry?

AHB: by negative influence I'm thinking of Harold Bloom's idea of misreading. That some writers repel rather than compel our work in a direction. I think conflict can be useful as a means of discovery. You are right to suggest that this is the unappealing revealing itself as unavoidable. That flash or trail is enough for a poem. That is, a poem can be a meditative state. One can access poems one has read, or might write, when neither reading or writing, when musing, say. These poems are not percepts but some manner of working with percepts. Poems are aggregates of percepts????? maybe so. As a musical language English appears to offer much variety. French is the only other language I have written in, simple French, so I cannot make great comparatives. English offers a vast palette for anyone wanting to write in metre and rhyme. I don't know what it is like to read ideograms. Does one really see the picture as one reads? If so, that would present an aspect that English doesn't really have. A least not so directly. I do make word choices based on etymology, id est, the (semi) hidden. But I cannot claim scholarly skill in that way, nor do I do it all the time. I use a lot of English spellings, which suggests other accents even if I do not pronounce differently from American spelling. English is possibly more adapted for prose than poetry because of the etymological distance that I mentioned. I've seen literal translations of Japanese and Chinese poetic, where the immediacy of the words presides over syntax. If that is the experience in the languages themselves, that seems more poetic than what English can do. I'm amazed that I mentioned Harold Bloom, who always seems like a grey mass of obfuscation.


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