20 jun. 2011

H.D. can write

Putting aside how attractive the mythopoesis of H.D.'s poetry is (to any particular reader), there is no denying that the woman could actually write:
In the field-furrow
the rain water

showed splintered edge
as of a broken mirror,

and in the glass
as in polished spear,

glowed the star Hesperus...

The myth is there for the poetry, to provide a kind of metaphorical support. When the writing gets too explanatory, it fails aesthetically:
Theus, God; God-the-father, father-god
or the Angel god-father,


This alienates readers there for the poetry, not the occult syncretism per se. Yet it does not seem wholly satisfying to isolate the perfect lyric moments and throw out the rest. We could enjoy the alternation between the indigestible bits and the eloquent highlights. In Trilogy, H.D. was trying to transcend, precisely, her reputation as a poet of the perfect lyric, the lyric that admitted nothing else. The discursive, explanatory style has to be there, even if not perfectly integrated into the imagist style.

4 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

Trilogy is definitely full of some of the best writing by any of the modernists. I always argue for H.D. to be included in any list of Stevens, Pound, Williams, and Eliot.

If Trilogy is also full of truly weird shit, well, so are The Cantos, so is lots of Eliot and quite a bit of Williams. I'd say only Stevens, of those five, is relatively "uncranky," as it were.

Jonathan dijo...

The equivalent in Stevens would be that kind of pretentious but beautiful metalanguage, where in spite of the beauty of the terms the explanations are a little awkward. No modernist could write a long poem without some kind of ballast, bombast, or stuffing. Something hard to swallow.

Vance Maverick dijo...


Andrew Shields dijo...

I wonder if that could be generalized further: long poems will always have "something hard to swallow." Dante, Milton, Virgil, even Homer: all have some stuffing; all have to fill in their form in some way. Maybe Ovid doesn't?