23 nov. 2005

I was thinking while driving in the car today about three or four dimensions of emotion in poetry. There's the basic feeling of the poem, its mood in simplest terms. Then, the strategy of concealment or self-dramatization by which that feeling is made manifest. Is emotion let out or "contained," for example. Is it understated or histrionic?

Also there is all the emotional freight that has to do with the actual writing and reading of the poem, that isn't part of the mood "behind" the poem. This is a kind of emotion intrinsic to the act of writing, and may or may not be consonant with the original mood of the poem. For example, exuberant self-confidence (about the act of writing) might go into the writing of an expression of elegiac despair. That is a kind of "intrinsic" emotion that I haven't seen discussed very much if at all.

There is also the emotion having to do with the expression of a very particular cultural moment, a time and place. Emotion that seems very particularized in this way. To know what it was like to be alive at a particular moment, quick as foxes on the hill, as Wallace Stevens might have said.

If there are about 9 basic emotions, about 9 varieties of each of them, about 5 or 6 basic strategies of "expression," and about 35 other emotions intrinsic to the act of writing, then the permutations seem quite overwhelming. What are the main variables to be considered. I have only just begun to think about this so please don't jump all over me right away. That would make me very "emotional."

1 comentario:

Henry Gould dijo...

Seems like emotion is never static. Everything changes & develops. Some of the suspense involved in reading a poem has to do with how & in what direction the emotional effects unfold. & some of the pleasure has to do with how the poem resolves those feelings - interprets them (or doesn't).