Monday, April 02, 2007


JH: How much of the work is author process and how much is grammar and a specific language (such as English)? Can the process ever be fully displayed in the finished product? Can it be shown in sequential steps? Is the process made more plain in procedural poems? The inspiration for the particular procedural poem is made evident by the poem, whereas a non-procedural poem about a sunset could have an inspiration other than the sunset -- the sunset could be a trope, which raises the question, where does figurative language enter in a procedural poem? What exactly is figurative language? Does it come from the same place that allows something clearly read or heard to be understood differently from intent or context? What does it indicate about words that one meaning may be substituted for another without the word disappearing? Are words different from language? If so, does poetry partake more of words or of language?

AHB: Your 1st question is a good one, because I think we all seem to fall for the rules. Grammar leads me quite a bit, and yet anti-grammar, so to speak, also leads me. Aren't we constantly fighting the frozen forms? The point of procedure is to waylay one's own tendency with an engine of a different direction, but of course that engine could become a tendency as well. I don't know what figurative language is. It exalts a possibility, and that's “the figure”. And that magic of how a word can replace another yet disappearance doesn't occur, that's the figure. The flarfy exercise of replacing a word in a text with another illustrates the remaining structure and integrity. I guess words differ from language, words being the implements of language's design. And now I must ponder if poetry partakes more of words or language... poetry itself seems a language, yet it is process as well. The ordinary words of conversation, the ordinary phrases, even, become poetry. How? You scour texts and take them into your poetry, the texts may have been poetry but turn into another poetry (yours) thru your efforts as writer. I don't know how any of this comes clear. I'm struggling to understand the prose that I write, and how I can call it poetry. Can you define poetry? I sense music (sound) and image and essence in poetry but I wonder, truly, if I write poetry or some personal hybrid. And I don't mean this in some sense of originality, but that I am lost in the world of poetry. I'm at critical mass about this. Have you a similar struggle with these concepts? You pose all the best questions here but seem assured in your experiments.


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