Monday, September 20, 2004

Kind-of-recently, Tony Tost posited that "there are no nouns in nature, only verbs." Provocative. I've been thinking two tracks on this. The first I mostly resist, the obvious 'no', the desire to say "I refute it thusly," as Samuel Johnson said, when he kicked a solid rock, in refutation of George Berkeley (his idea that all the world is god-thought, not the man, that is). Because that's not what Tony means, I'm almost completely certain.

The other way my thinking has gone (and I'm indulging the perogative of the blogger here, I'm probably far afield from where he started and certainly ungrounded, at least consciously, in the framework which that sentence appeared in on Tony's blog) is sort of to (to pick one of many accomodating frameworks) Deleuze-&-Guattari. That everything is becoming, is changing on its way to something else. A ball, for example, is sitting. Or flying, or falling, or being kicked, or being etc. I'm still confused as to how this maps out syntactically (because I'm clumsy when it comes to partitioning sentences). Does this statement mean nouns are irrelevant? That "Rick floated down into the sea" means the same thing as "the milkweed seed floated down into the sea" or, really, any variation of furniture placed around the word "floated"? That these sentences are unreal, and that a real sentence might look more like "grew photosynthesized bloomed floated landed soaked dreamt sprouted grew"? Or that, to go back to Rick and the milkweed seed, the word 'floated' is like the sun to the objects around it, casting the defining light which gives them shape and, though Rick is no milkweed seed, the act of floating is mostly all of the poetry of either's actions?

I'm avoiding going back to the entry until I finish my own wandering through the idea. There's something of activity there I think I could use, until I find it. And to be honest, there's some intimidatingly vigorous thinking going on over there; I think I want to think out loud to myself kind of lazily a little first.

I think that your comment that "floating" is the sun to the noun planets is fairly accurate. My position on the fragment of Mr. Tost's line is that things, including people, are on an irreversible line from nowhere to infinity. To be is to be moving in some direction. Sort of like the cliche, "If you're not living, you're dying," there is no middle place of rest. Or, try physics, an object set in motion will remain in motion until an outside force stops it. In whatever fashion, things have been created, thereby set in motion, and they will not stop until they are destroyed. In which case, by nature, they would decompose and be "reborn" as part of nature. On goes the cycle ad infinitum.
Personally, I think the statement is refreshing amidst the narcissism and solipsism in so much of contemporary poetry. To make the self smaller than something: why, how very unamerican! Completely blasphemous! I love it.
Best, Ryan
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