Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Poor Man's Poetics

There are few things I like more than reading my blogroll, and few things I hate more than philosophizing about poetry. So, resourceful ant I am, I've engineered a combination, and hereby present two recently posted thoughts on the nature of poetry from, respectively, First Known When Lost (Stephen Pentz) & Poems and Poetics (Jerome Rothenberg):

"Here, I think, in 'Love lies beyond the tomb,' [John Clare] in this unprejudiced singing voice that knows not what it sings, is some reason for us to believe that poets are not merely writing figuratively when they say, 'My love is like a red, red rose,' that they are to be taken more literally than they commonly are, that they do not invent or 'make things up' as grown people do when they condescend to a child's game. What they say is not chosen to represent what they feel or think, but is itself the very substance of what had before lain dark and unapparent, is itself all that survives of feeling and thought, and cannot be expanded or reduced without dulling or falsification... If this is so, then we are on the way to understand why poetry is mighty; for if what poets say is true and not feigning, then of how little account are our ordinary assumptions, our feigned interests, our playful and our serious pastimes spread out between birth and death."

- Edward Thomas, Feminine Influence on the Poets (1910), page 86.

The key that no one has lost
Poetry serves no purpose, I am told
and trees caress one another in the forest
with blue roots and twigs ruffling to the wind,
greeting with birds the Southern Cross
Poetry is the deep murmur of the murdered
the rumor of leaves in the fall, the sorrow
for the boy who preserves the tongue
but has lost the soul
Poetry, poetry, is a gesture, a landscape,
your eyes and my eyes, girl; ears, heart,
the same music. And I say no more, because
no one will find the key that no one has lost
And poetry is the chant of my ancestors
a winter day that burns and withers
this melancholy so personal.

- Elicura Chihuailaf, Mapudungun poet (trans. Rodrigo Rojas)