Thursday, July 08, 2004

A few thoughts before I go beachward for a week.

Time is a matter of what-is extracting itself from what-may-be.


I don’t care what you want to call it—East Mars, the Holy Spirit, zeitgeist, the Sublime, BREATH, muse, pneuma, Self, the historical dialectic, the unconscious, ‘my dusky brother,’ Daemon, inspiration, genius, Shirley, or late-for-dinner—it is the totality of yourself. It is (to use another name) your soul, your spiritual existence, is that which writes, and not your consciousness, which is part of the constellation above-named (a part which though, like any amaneusis, must have a good sense of when to ad-lib.). How do I know? Well, experience. Not to say that others don’t have an entirely different experience of poesis—and not to say all compositional experiences involve this immanent beyondness so clearly at the time—but I really can’t conceive of writing without this voice, the smallest and only clear voice, trustworthy, that I know of as myself; somehow it seems that that larger voice which manifests so clearly when I am still is larger in me, is me so large that this illness is nothing, is like a cramp or a scowl at most, passing. I mean I love syntax and line-play, the instant feeling of control and discovery composition can yield, yet I feel that I could achieve so little (or less than the little I do) without this larger-ness which gives life to my love and sometimes manifests itself directly enough that the writing of it is almost the taking of dictation. (Anyone else feel this way?)

From what I remember, Plato set up the concept of “Furor Poeticus” to disenfranchise the idea of poetry as a valid art form. (Caveat: I guess I should go back and read again before holding forth on this topic, but this is a blog, virtual real-time thought, so I’m going to anyway) To wit: am I buying into some lessening of the art of poetry by defining it as a ‘talent’-based, not skill-based art form? I don’t feel so, for two reasons.

One, poetry requires the acquisition of many skills, yet any art which relies almost totally on skill is artisanal, not artistic. I know loads of you (hypothetically) are blowing poststructuralist gaskets at my acceptance of the myth of the sublime, but as it seems to me, we humans are structures—there’s no getting past the social structures we inherit, period. There is too much of human-being in these concept-structures (inspiration, sublimity, etc) for me to disdain them out of hand. Simply put, they offer me more, I feel, than the denial of them does. And I’m so far from being a convert to the Gnosticism of the church of All Received Knowledge is a Capital-Manipulated Instructuration that I’m just going to rest on my artisan/artistic dualism here—that the separation between the two is one’s ability to channel that ‘larger’ thingy we’ve been debating for three thousand years (at least) into an apprehendible form, a form which can lead a sensitive reader to that experience of self-beyond-self.

Two, again, I’m relying on experience. The only times I’ve written things I and others have felt is poetry is when the internal dualism between me and Me was disassembled, negotiated to a nonduality—when the sensation was of me recognizing that it was in harmony with Me (obliteration is a kind of harmony, too). (Earlier in my blog I kind of snipped about confessionals—imagine a confessional poet who wrote from the Atman? Is that Whitman?) I mean, I write because, among other things, I don’t want to always have to look into a mirror to see how I feel.

I may have to rethink this into sense if it isn’t so much now, I apologize if its seeming so to me is a momentary fancy on my part. In my defense I rest on my blog mission statement, that I am trying to sort out the implementation of what until now has been, despite some broad reading, mostly a matter of instinct. Sortings-out usually involve some messiness.

That’s all.

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