15 jun. 2009

I was in Chicago for the weekend celebrating Julia's 14th birthday, so I had two days of "breaking the chain," after working 31 consecutive days on the project. Today I'm back working on it, refreshed.

One of the problems I'm working on is the relation between poetry and history. I'm not talking mostly about poetry that talks about historical events directly, or history as a poetic frame of reference. (That would be kind of obvious.) Rather, the historical consciousness that goes into something like the concept of modernism itself. Pound's translation of "The Seafarer" is a modernist poem, for example. Its historical frame, in terms of its creation and reception, is the time when it was written.

The same for St.-John Perse's Anabasis, for example, which takes place in some mythic time with no direct relation to the present. Even when there is a real time in poetry, there is also, at the same time, a kind of other time. There is also the sense that a future reader might be distant from the any of the various time frames of the poem. For example, I inhabit neither the historic frame of the original "The Sea Farer" (Old English) nor that of Pound himself. The reception of a work of art stretches out indefinitely into the future.

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