So, dear Rainer, apart from odd devotions (too often spawning neologisms, perhaps), I’m an advocate for literary value, inasmuch as I can appreciate that so far. A lot I’ve done here and there might be understood best relative to that engagement, my hope for something from literary engagement that I’m learning to find.
That, in short, is my agenda for the coming year: to better understand (deeply appreciate?) literary value (which I’ve also been growing into the past couple of years).
Becoming a good poet (I’m not on that road) requires lots of work and often involves either material poverty or the stress of unrelated employment. Even teaching poetry is mostly unrelated to the self-inhabiting of poetic bearing. So, why does someone devote their life to becoming a good poet?
What does one want from The Poem (as genre)?
What does The Poet want (as essential calling)?
The poet, the poem—as if calling and bearing could be a natural kind.
Some months ago, the appearance of W.S. Merwin’s The Shadow of Sirius suggested a chance to weave into what I’d intended an exemplar of poetic thinking, like the return of a lost love, which his first poem in the collection, “The Nomadic Flute,” would begin, as part of whatever swirl of life his lines met through my moment of reading.
So much for the first stanza, as if I was committing to some extended dwelling with the book. (I thought I was.)
do you still hear meThat’s the second stanza—nothing profound, except inasmuch as an entire oeuvre might be implied in the lines, as Merwin is that kind of poet—which provides an example of The Poet (Harold Bloom’s “strong poet”).
does your air
o breath of morning
night song morning song
I have with me
all that I do not know
I have lost none of it
One could read Bloom’s audacious anthology The Best Poems of the English Language and gain another sense of The Poet—our language as gelling into some enduring organon, a spirit of English humanity.
Too little time to have made such a priority. I buy each year’s The Best American Poetry, each edited by a well-established American poet, expecting to one day inhabit it all, to see what I could say about The Poet in my time, The Poem of America going into this millennium. Too little time.
But if medical science is soon to give us chances to become methuselahs, I have enough wealth to keep life appealing—life appealing: That may be the origin of poetry, whose telos is, certainly in part, to keep life appealing. Taking for keeping, granting for bearing.
Coining words, such as ‘inwordness’ (homophonic with ‘inwardness’), is an endeavor to name what has no name. For philosophers, linguistic relativity of understanding is often a troublesome constraint. For literary value, it’s a potential for resonance in what we can share?
Any poet, I think, wants a confident sense of wholly present self indwelling, for inwordness to feel right, “now,” implicitly appealing to you, just by there being at last (released) the showing, to bring all of yourself into the reading. Though no merging of here and there is likely possible, suppose you’re some miraculous complement of the poet.
Whereas most poets begin through Literature and may gain philosophical insight (e.g., an aconceptual imagism is a philosophical stance), I come to poetic interest conversely, from philosophy (psychological philosophy, actually) and my excursions (like “poiesis” last Sunday) express that backstage interest in explorations that marry philosophical and literary validity (I guess). Handicapped, I do what I can to traverse a literary garden (help wanted), eventually to design what I can.
Though I’m not averse to verse, I don’t vest poetic thinking in the line and don’t seek to be regarded as poetic. Yet, I take to heart a sense of inwordness that lives with an elusive enchanting of topological potential in our tropography of evolving.
A little play on ‘poiesis’ may express an allegory of our post-essentialist (postmetaphysicalist) condition of being: striving to design our ways of living fruitfully and appropriately in light of unprecedented emerging of there being our presence in our time, our universe.
In his later years, Heidegger (an influence, but I’m no Heideggerian) often alluded to a “topology of Being.” I channel that theme beyond (?) talk of “Being,” as questions—of what good terms might we best have for shaping our sense of “essential” things—stay: abide, inspire, haunt, elate.....
Tell me a better use of time.
No: Give me complements of time to spend that figure in a weave (today, for example).