a grouse with completely feathered feet


Notes on Speculative Poetry; or, Dreams Beyond the Unified Field

"But the diffusive energy being withdrawn, and the reaction having commenced in furtherance of the ultimate design -- that of the utmost possible Relation -- this design is now in danger of being frustrated, in detail, by reason of that very tendency to return which is to effect its accomplishment in general. Multiplicity is the object; but there is nothing to prevent proximate atoms, from lapsing at once, through the now satisfiable tendency -- before the fulfilment of any ends proposed in multiplicity -- into absolute oneness among themselves: -- there is nothing to impede the aggregation of various unique masses, at various points of space: -- in other words, nothing to interfere with the accumulation of various masses, each absolutely One." Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka


"What poetry can do, however, that no other field can do so well, is to offer new modes of language, different ways of writing one's engagement with the world, not a field of study but a way of living and writing that can never be contained by the dynamics of fields and their struggles. Poetry cannot always change the world. But it can, sometimes, show us what a changed world might look like." --Mark Wallace, "Looking Beyond the Fields of Poetry"


"The child attempts to relate inner sensations to a verbal code which is quite separate in origins. In order to first learn the meaning of the word "anger" you have to imagine someone else's body, undergoing such an emotion, and relate that image to what is happening inside you in moments of what you may later on call "anger". This "someone else's body", where shared meanings are stored and stabilized, appears in many forms in art. Language acquisition occurs as an instrumental help in a much deeper activity, that of intuiting other people's (i.e. primarily the rest of your family's) feelings and intentions; someone, even a young child, quite unable to do this, lacks the faculty which makes them a human being. We can see that the proposition "no ideas but in things" is the exact reverse of the truth; things don't have ideas. This "virtual body" makes possible the genre of Allegory; the 16th C Complaynte of Scotland shows a much distressed woman wandering the land weeping, who is also the country Scotland; the "small space" of this woman's body is a sensuous equivalent for the "large space" of Scotland, too large to be seen. Allegory is an archaic figure, which yet recalls the pathways of association by which we build up abstract and large-scale concepts from the data which reach us only through our senses, i.e. through our body." -- Andrew Duncan on John Wilkinson


As Prynne does...not scientific determinism but science as the shadow puppeteer of historiography, which is the creation of bunny ears or talking dogs on the blank walls of our lives. Poetry is the tracing of the shapes on the walls with a pencil or penknife.


And yet paradoxically, to disengage poetic revolution from the idea of the scientific revolution.


With frailty frontloaded as our cosmic precondition, how can narrativity be toxic, or subjectivity corrosive. Or narrativity subjectivity?

more later.


At 10/28/2004 01:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can narrativity be toxic: can it: is it:

I'm thinking that the mythic is a layering of telling that can be moralized, even as I mean moral, here, as detatched from ethics. And because the body (concrete language) tells more effectively than abstraction does, it seems only plausible that to enter into the symbolic realm as a child is to enter into the language of the body.

There are hundreds of stories in Latino culture about La Llorona, the Crying Woman, who drowned her children in the river after being left by her lover/husband. The mythic implications speak to cultural despair and injustice, the fact that immigrant male partners move away to look for work and may not return. In my childhood, La Llorona was a ghost who would take children away at night. But she is not a ghost. She is a body. A mother as well as a child-killer. She enacts the reality of people as a body. Even if we don't know exactly what she means.

The mythic implications of her story suggest that those who repeat the telling wonder at her strength, her oppression, her solitude and anger: first. We sympathize with her before we feel the horror of her story. Only after do we question the morality of her actions. She is less culpable than Medea. She is not about revenge.

She speaks to a people who have sacrificed their heritage to another culture; their children are drowning in it. That's all.



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