6 abr. 2010

I've never really been much for themes. In fact, I hate the word (as applied to literature or poetry) and find almost grotesque the idea that writers write about particular themes. I am not denying that there are themes that writers write about; it just seems the wrong end of the stick to take hold of.

What poetry is most about, it seems to me, is the sheer awe at simply being alive and being conscious of that, of feeling the texture of one's own experience of the world. That's just about the only thing I care to read "about." Call it a phenomenological sense of things. For some, it can be simply being alive, for others, it is a mystic or quasi-mystic state that only occurs once in a while. I get it strongly in Creeley, in Koch, in Rodríguez, in Gerbasi.

Poetry cannot just talk about this marvel of being consciously alive discursively; it has to actually embody that experience in the density of its language. It is not talking about ecstatic experience as a theme that interests me. In fact, what I like oftentimes is poetry that does not seem to be talking about this at all.

3 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

That last bit seems like a comment on my post about Robin Robertson yesterday, but I think your post came first!

Jonathan dijo...

I've just read your post now. Though I see your point, I wonder if you still have a hierarchy in preferring poems that DO embody the experience rather than "merely" talking about it. I also wonder whether Robin would say his poem does embody it. In other words, how can you reach that judgment so easily? Have you ever changed your mind about that?

Andrew Shields dijo...

Yes, I could definitely change my mind about it, especially because, in my experience, the ways in which a poem "embodies" the experience it describes tend not to be obvious at a first reading.