Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I have so many thoughts regarding Josh's notes toward "Notes Toward . . ." But I think I'll just say my own shorthand take on where I think Stevens was going for now, and not sort out the vocabularies yet:

It Must Change (roughly translates to) It must constantly be what it is (that is, anything that truly exists, exists in a changing state);
It Must be Abstract (roughly translates to) It must not be what it is (sort of a Godelian self-transcendent set);
It Must Give Pleasure (roughly translates to) It must be what it is not.

I think all these categories are fulfilled by a cat, sitting in a room (well, actually, by a cat sitting anywhere. Cats are so good at being cats). This is sort of how I think of the qualities Stevens was suggesting the supreme fiction manifest.

I like this a lot, Stuart. Considerably more economical than my own post, too.

But I must admit to being a dog person, in life and probably in poetry too.
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.

At first I had a hard time wrapping my mind around your post, so I thought about it, then set it aside, then this kind of came up, and I think I get where your coming from a little better now.

That's funny what you say about being a dog person! After I posted, I began thinking, "what about a dog? No, a dog is definitely what it is, but is also definitely not what it is not." Faithful, lacking that majesterial enigmatic quality, I suppose I meant. Then I thought of Stevens line about poetry being a lion in the heart, maybe that's where the cat image comes from.

I've always been a dog person, too, at least in life (and desired to be so in poetry, to less success). Painfully so.
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