28 jun. 2007

Another quality I value is languaginess. It's when you sense in a piece of writing that sense that the poet was aware of the language used. Not just the choice of words (diction), but at the level of syntax and morphology.

I like too a certain enmeshedment, or feeling that the poem is tied to a certain place and time (and language) and cannot be taken out of there. Untranslatability would be a good word for this.

Constraintiness is another one. The sense that the poem is following invisible and mysterious rules, or visible yet still enigmatic rules. Constraintiness is not the opposite of freedom. In fact, they often are found in the same vicinity.

Not all poems I appreciate will have all these qualities, or have them in the same degree. For example I might like many poems that aren't constrainty in the least. I might like an anonymous lyric poem that is not distinctively written by a particular poet, etc... These are not criteria for poetry, but names for particular kinds of aesthetic pleasures. I would argue, though, that there has to be some kind of pleasure, whatever the set of names given it.

3 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

"These are not criteria for poetry, but names for particular kinds of aesthetic pleasures." That's another wonderful Mayhewism!

mongibeddu dijo...

I've been proofreading my wife's work, and I see that she talks about "languaginess" using Michael P. Kramer's cognate term "linguisticity" (which he coins in Imagining Language in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War [Princeton UP, 1992]). Kramer takes "linguisticity' as the basis for canonicity in classic American lit. Blah blah blah. But it's a cool word, not least because it makes me think of pasta.

Ben F.

Nada dijo...

I'm with you on these. I would add,

complex interactions.