28 sept. 2007

Georg Trakl, César Vallejo, and Juan Ramón Jiménez were not "surrealists." I'm going off the "deep" end next time I see a quote about how James Wright translated "surrealist poets" like these! Whether Lorca was a "surrealist' is at least open to debate. It kind of depends on what your definition of 'Lorca" is. The "American Lorca" was a surrealist. The friend of Dalí, the Lorca of the drawings, might have been. The author of Diván del Tamarit was not.

Vallejo wrote an autopsy of surrealism, explaining its failings. Trakl killed himself 10 years before the surrealist manifesto. How would someone feel if encountering a list of "Language poets like Ron Silliman, Robert Hass, Frank O'Hara, and Bill Knott"? Would it matter that some died before language poetry existed, some hated it?

The logic seems to be (1) Robert Bly and James Wright translated Trakl and Vallejo. (2) Robert Bly liked surrealism around this time. (3) Therefore these poets are surrealists.


I really think deep image is not about depth or about image, but about a certain lexicon

bone, stone, tree, wind, cold, silent, dark, happy, glass, moon, sun, night, day, jewel, field.

It's about a certain tone of voice, an attitude.

7 comentarios:

Robert dijo...

I like that idea of the lexicon. My sense is that deep image poets wanted to limit themselves to a vocabulary that could have been used by human beings 500 or 5,000 or 500,000 years ago.

JforJames dijo...

In a post on my blog sometime back I wrote that poets too often strive for the original, when they should be trying to make contact with the aborginal part of their minds. To me that's part of deep image means: The words must be old and well-worn.

Jonathan dijo...

I don't even know what getting to the "aboriginal part of the mind" would look like. That's the kind of thinking that gave us the sloppiness of deep image poetry in the first place. An ill-thought-out anthropology/psychology. How would you even know what when you've found it?

JforJames dijo...

You have to feel it. It wouldn't be intellectual. You'd have as much luck trying to think through your saxophone if you were improvizing in a jazz solo.

Jonathan dijo...

Your comment is not "Bemsha Worthy." You're going to have to do a lot better than that. I don't put the intellect and feeling into two separate little boxes, and for an example of thinking through the saxophone I suggest you listen to Lee Konitz.

Karen dijo...

Aboriginal mind = Jungian collective unconscious? Maybe.

Didn't Lawrence call Whitman an aboriginal? I think so.

I would say "primal" rather than "aboriginal." Although "aboriginal" does connote a relationship between ancestry & soil, and, therefore, the chthonic.

And I must say that as a middle-class American WASP aborigine, I do enjoy putting on my plaid shorts and gathering around the Webber grill in the summer.

John dijo...

By the way, Karen didn't leave the last comment. I did. I forgot that Karen signed onto her email on my computer last night. Though she'd probably laugh that I impersonated her putting on plaid shorts and gathering around the grill.