JH: An excellent definition of poetry, your "A poem is a surprise in the words you live with"! Is surprise, or perplexity (perhaps a facet of surprise), the same height as reading, hearing, or interpreting a poem? Is the divide between a poem's poet and public illustrative of the ideal plurality of reading (or hearing) a poem? Is surprise one of the responses that brings a poem into the light after it is written? Is the poem an obscurity that no light can illuminate? What is observed when one encounters a poem? Only the poem, recognized as being a poem, and any allusions, personal or historical, one adds to the poem. Recognition and ventriloquism, and recognition through ventriloquism, this is what is observed when one encounters a poem. Recognition and ventriloquism lie atop a poem, what lies beneath? AHB: A poem is an obscurity that no light can illuminate, indeed. Within that obscurity is the life of words, primeval, primordial, prime. In this picture, surprise is energy of involvement, of noticing the actions of words and our confrontation with them. Words as microbes, or something. Well, this seems to bring me to a recent poem of yours.
William Collins' Ode To Fear, to dissuade John Wilkes Booth
Youth And The Bright Medusa, to allay Lizzie Borden
Helen of Egypt, to daunt Cesare Borgia
Winesburg, Ohio, to dissuade John Wilkes Booth
Lycidas, to hinder Elizabeth Bathory
Baudelaire's Poe, to deter Gilles de Rais
The Case Of The Negligent Nymph, to allay Lizzie Borden
Would Une Semaine de Bonté turn aside Cain's hand?
The Ballad Of The Sad Café, to daunt Cesare Borgia
The Left Hand Of Darkness, to dissuade John Wilkes Booth
Milton's Lycidas, to hinder Sawney Beane
The Age Of Innocence, to daunt Cesare Borgia
Baudelaire's Poe, to deter Charlotte Corday
John Milton's Lycidas, to hinder Gary Gilmore
I have read me some Philip K. Dick, but did not recognize the reference to a story of his in the title. What is familiar to me is placed in unfamiliar (surprising) relationship here. The collisions and intersections here are invitingly baffling. And presented in something like a sonnet form. I want to present another of your poems that appeared on Wryting-L.
Issuance, pathless you had been
Unlikeness, pathless you had been
Nightingale, pathless you had been
Allurement, pathless you had been
And from whose hand, imposture, your voice?
Of fable, my words, and of my words, no fable
Of Virginia,my words, and of my words, no Virginia
Oh, for a verse to height sable Virginia with fêtes!
Of fêtes, my words, and of fêtes, no expectation
Reverie heights hours rich with imposture, cypress heights a shade
And from whose hand, nightingale, your voice?
Polis heights error, wilderness (heart or nail) heights voyage
First, you use the word porphyry more than I ever have, I am sure typing the title was the first time I ever writ the word. Beyond that, the weird rhythm, as of a rite, for instance The Tibetan Book of the Dead. You may now explain the procedure behind or beneath this gem.