Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Descent of Winter: 11/1

Josie Knight, Surface Pattern

in almost all verse you read, mine or anybody's else, the figures used and the general impression of the things spoken of is vague "you could say it better in prose" especially good prose, say the prose of Hemingway. The truth of the object is somehow hazed over, dulled. So nobody would go to see a play in verse if

     the salvias, the rusty hydrangeas, the ragged cannas

there's too often no observation in it, in poetry. It is a soft second light of dreaming. The sagas were not like that they seem to have been made on the spot. The little Greek I have read——and in translation——is not like that. Marlowe, Chaucer, el Cid, Shakespeare where he is homely, uncultured, a shrewd guesser is not like that. Where he puts it over about some woman he knew or a prince or Falstaff. The good poetry is where the vividness comes up "true" like in prose but better. That's poetry. Dante was wrestling with Italian, his vividness comes from his escape from Latin. Don Quixote. I don't know about the Russians or the French.

     and the late, high growing red rose
                it is their time
        of a small garden

poetry should strive for nothing else, this vividness alone, per se, for itself. The realization of this has its own internal fire that is "like" nothing. Therefore the bastardy of the simile. That thing, the vividness which is poetry by itself, makes the poem. There is no need to explain or compare. Make it and it is a poem. This is modern, not the saga. There are no sagas——only trees now, animals, engines: There's that.



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