from k to a via forward message:
--- I went to your's and arch.'s new blog site and I've read your theory of poetics on TCP already and yesterday I found essay and read it and now I've decided to send you the link as you might find it quite enjoyable -- I did. It's not a defining of poetics or writing really but a grand metaphorical beauty on compostion itself. So... It's called "A Bee Is A Predicate With Wings" by John Olson.
[thank you brian, for letting us put this up and for guiding us towards this article.]
a: Katy, have you read this yet? I didn't find it enjoyable at all! On the contrary, I found it quite annoying! Maybe I'm not in the "right" mindset, but from when I am it is just... rambling, pointless, exasperating! It tries to say everything and ends up saying nothing, absolutely nothing! See, I just don't like the expansive; I don't believe in the epic. I feel overwhelmed. And I refuse to glorify those things I believe in (life, the human) because I am equally aware of their shortcomings as of their greatness. I might have been impressed by such ideas when I was a teenager, but even that I doubt. It's just that this fascination with the scales of life and the universe strikes me as childish (and I don't mean that in the nice way). Yeah, so what? It just never inspired awe in me; that's probably why I never believed in a god. That's why I never liked the open sea; it scares me. I like lakes, contained bodies of water. Maybe that is precisely my problem, maybe I am just too jaded, I have lost that childish sense of wonder. Maybe that's why I don't get Wojtek's incessant photos of dead plants, and twigs, and vegetation, and blossoms. Or my ex's photos of ancient stones. I always preferred photos of people. Still, I would never deliriously praise humanity as such. But that essay wasn't even praise; it was just pure drivel! (Was he high then?) I mean, yeah, lots of good metaphors, bravo! So what? That is not what poetry is to me. And that is perhaps why I find so much poetry pure drivel, because people to give themselves the license to drool just because they're writing poetry. Poetry for me is hinting at the essence of life in a sentence, revealing some truth about it in the turn of a phrase. It is about life the banale, life the small, fragile thing, life the senseless, the ruthless, the merciless and the inspiring... Who are these people who wander about the everything? Where do they find the time? Life for me is this little box I am stuck in, this corner I am crawled into. This heavy burden of freedom, as Sartre said. I don't know, I don't get it... Maybe that's why I am unable to write these days. I just like it has all been said, that I have nothing to say anymore. Maybe not in poetry... Maybe no one has time to read... I don't know, Katy. I hope I'm not coming across as completely psychotic...
k: you are not psychotic. i don't know that i could tell you exactly what you are, but psychotic you are not.
i started reading this article the night before last around 10:30 and stopped about 3 paragraphs in shaking my head thinking, i must be soooo tired. this morning, i am a bit stunned by the fact that those words are actually the right ones.
i think i get what the article is trying to say... similar, i think, to stein's composition as explination (which is one of the most confusing and dense essays i've ever read) and my idea about time in poetry as being spontaneous, or rather, simultanious. this article, though, seems to me to be overwhelmed with cliche and drama. i don't like to be outright awful, but this essay is awful.
the focus seems to be on poetic language in an academic stance, and it doesn't work here. the author is trying to display the dynamics between prose and poetry by poorly merging the two genres in an essay?? even more, the author tries to tie everything up in a big bow by claiming that life is narrative (which i believe it is not, life is far too complicated to be put into words and pictures, poets try and have been for ages without success).
in poetry, i completely agree with you. the moment, the instant and the essence are what make poetry work. i can't read, write or appriciate poetry that tries to capture something as mammouth as war, high school, or poetry itself. what i prefer are poems about wallpaper, about one lonely night in one person's life, about a spider eating a fly or a sweet piece of fruit. these are life, and they are as close to life as poetry may ever get.