Saturday, December 08, 2007


JH: Let me pluck a couple more strings of "Mimicry In Ruins". In the second sentence of "Mimicry In Ruins", the opening quotation mark may start at "pass", and the closing quotation mark may be placed after "says", or "den", or "hope". Nature could be the original speaker of "Beauty is body as places". What is being imitated when ones writes of past experience? Is it the act of writing an account that is doing the speaking, and thus the person who had the experience is what is being imitated? What words convey is the imitated and the imitable, whereas words have their own pasts and their own immediate and future contexts. Writing has become a language, which borrows words from another language (e.g., English) or languages (e.g., English, Italian, Latin) to such an extent as to obscure the fact that writing is a language without words, only forms, whether these forms are syntactical or cultural/literary. Is poetry analogous to this definition of writing (and can poetry only be analogous to a definition, and never to the thing defined?), or does poetry borrow from writing in much the same manner as writing borrows from language? Does poetry's borrowing, whatever it is, lead one to think poetry has no words of its own? Writing's borrowing does not lead me to think writing possesses words that are translated into human language; writing is an act. Poetry is dependent on words for visibility, yet is itself linguistically invisible. Writing cannot desert a writer unless soundness of body and brain has previously deserted; poetry can desert its author at any time. Poetry is not an action; it moves of its own impulse; it does not have a knowable constitution. The words of poetry are as its thoughts, and are translated into human language. Are we to suppose poetry thinks of us constantly? By "us", I mean human language and its dealings. If poetry is intermittently, and incidentally, concerned with the human, can any or all of its other concerns be inferred? The surface self-sufficiency of words independent of what they convey may be what attracts poetry to words, or poetry may detect an analogy between this self-sufficiency of words and the isolation of past experience from present experience (which includes the act of writing).

AHB: 1st, apologies for not answering you sooner. “Are we to suppose poetry thinks of us constantly?” it seems only fair that it does, as we claim, don't we, to think of poetry all the time. Writing stays with us, but poetry, its a shifting thing. because of busyness and distraction, I haven't been writing in the same rhythm as usual. I am not blocked, in the sense of having poetry denied me, just having trouble squiring the time and concentration to get to the writing. in The White Goddess Robert Graves personifies the muse, the triple-goddess, towards which the effort of writing goes. I don't entirely buy the picture but I still find the sense of process useful. I mention this because I wonder if you ever feel betrayed by or denied of poetry. I've admitted that I'm not writing so much as has formerly been my practice. I notice that you aren't posting a great deal at Wryting and wonder if you are in a trough as well. and more importantly to this discussion, do you lose the muse ever? I'll say that I went thru a long stretch of dissatisfaction. I was not energized by poetry, my methods (I started using a computer) changed, and such, so that, tho I wrote a lot, it wasn't poetry. as you write, "Poetry is not an action; it moves of its own impulse".


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