Thursday, March 01, 2007 immemorial urge

Ms. Ana María Correa over at "Out of the Woods Now" has been traversing familiar territory as of late, musing upon young efforts at soul-baring in the form of the poem. Referring to a fellow Cornellian, she says:

"Nearing the end of Nabokov's Speak, Memory I come across his beginnings in poetry as a teenager (remembering my own overly-earnest false starts) and listen to his thoughts on the matter:

But then, in a sense, all poetry is positional: to try to express one's position in regard to the universe embraced by consciousness, is an immemorial urge. The arms of consciousness reach out and grope, and the longer they are the better. Tentacles, not wings, are Apollo's natural members. Vivian Bloodmark, a philosophical friend of mine, in later years, used to say that while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time. Lost in thought, he taps his knee with his wandlike pencil, and at the same instant a car (New York license plate) passes along the road, a child bangs the screen door of a neighboring porch, and old man yawns in a misty Turkestan orchard, a granule of cinder-gray sand is rolled by the wind on Venus, a Docteur Jacques Hirsch in Grenoble puts on his reading glasses, and trillions of other such trifles occur--all forming an instantaneous and transparent organism of events, of which the poet (sitting in a lawn chair, at Ithaca, N.Y.) is the nucleus.

That summer I was still far too young to evolve any wealth of "cosmic synchronization" (to quote my philosopher again). But I did discover, at least, that a person hoping to become a poet must have the capacity of thinking of several things at a time.

Yes. Liberating. And thank you Ms. Correa and Dr., do I have the courage to post, even for my own scrutiny, my own naive juvenalia? Catharsis vs. there's a trade-off. Is there celebration of puppy love? Of idealism? And why the urge to shed all of that, like ridding one's closet of skinny ties and parachute pants? Yet I saved at least one skinny tie...and a high school sonnet or two. This kind of confusion had better not be a harbinger of mid-life crisis...stay tuned, or not.


Michelle said...

courage my friend will get us out of Oz and back to Kansas.

catharsis vs. humiliation. perhaps, catharsis IS humiliation. humiliation of a lie. this seems to happen right before personal honesty. it doesn't feel too good, i've found.

of course this is only my personal perspective on such matters.

we're entitled to our version of reality, i think. it's better when that's a healthy one.

"there's no place like home" "there's no place like home"

you have my vote of confidence.


ozymandiaz said...

Of catharsis and humiliation (not embarrassment but of humility) I wonder...
I publish my poetry fairly anonymously, some know my name but the only true "me" I put out is in my pros. I call this writing process a catharsis as all I ever truly hope to get out of it is to get it out (of me?). Can this process of revealing me without revealing myself (as when you reveal your perceptions, as a poet, of a moment in time you surely reveal yourself) be truly cathartic? Or do I mire myself in delusion (and if so is the effect the same?).

KGT said...

Interesting Oz...perhaps the effect is the same, similar to your thoughts on distractions.

And yet, there is always the performance issue, the "good art" problem... that is, if one hopes to get something more out of writing.

One one hand, "Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us" says Roy Adzak.

On the other hand, "The function of Art is to disturb. Science reassures," says George Braque.

I confess, I am terrified of art/literature/poetry that is strictly pop-self-psychology...hence my fears of my juvenile attempts to "get it out"...but then, I sure do love my own children's forms of expression, however naive they are...

thanks Oz for forcing me to think about this further, and Michelle for the encouragement!

Rtwell said...

I have become even fonder of you through your work on this blog. Always insightful and yet your vulnerability is inspiring.