10 sept. 2007

It could be that my definition of logopoeia is mine alone. I don't think the concept is clear at all in Pound--

Logopoeia, 'the dance of the intellect among words,' that is to say, it employs words not only for their direct meaning, but it takes into count in a special way of habits of usage, of the context we expect to find with the word, its usual concomitants, of its known acceptances, and of ironical play. It holds the aesthetic content which is peculiarly the domain of verbal manifestation...

It is not abstract ideas or intellectual content, because it cannot easily be translated. It is the poetic effect gotten from using a word in a particular way in relation to that word's normal or expected usage.

Think of the word "wastrel." Now think of its context, where you would be likely to find it. A Victorian novel? What other words would you be likely to find in its vicinity? (urchin, workhouse) Is it ambiguous? (Yes, it means either an abandoned child or a goodfornothing bum.) Other associations? (waste, waist?). What is the word's register? (archaic, literary, relatively unusual but not unheard of either). Now imagine it where it doesn't belong, its anti-context. Using it there would produce a logopoetic effect because it would clash with its surroundings, it would be used "in a particular way in relation to that word's normal or expected usage."

We can see that this effect is distinct from the visual image of a "wastrel," a word which for me frankly calls up no picture at all. (Ok, I'm lying: my visual analogue to this word is in fact a particular kind of drawing by Edward Gorey.) I can smell the word more than I can see it. It's also goes beyond the sound of the word, because it you didn't have those purely verbal associations this odor would not be produced. It's not a primarily melopoeic effect, then, but a mostly verbal one.


Also, by extension, other verbal figures of rhetoric that aren't particularly focussed on the "image" belong to logopoeia. Hyperbaton for example.

I think Creeley is strong in logopoeia. Hart Crane. Stein. Lowell. Donne and Stevens. Guillermo Carnero. Ashbery. I know it when I see it. Pound found it in Laforgue.

It is conspicuous in its absence in the mature poetry of Wright. (His earlier poetry, influenced by New Criticism, has more of it.) It is absent from many translations, and in fact its absence makes discourse sound "translated."

1 comentario:

Tom Beckett dijo...

When Charles Bernstein spoke with me all those years ago about the "music of meaning" I took that as his translation of "logopoeia".