Saturday, February 11, 2012

Memory and Perception III

Hejinian offers a different form of witnessing experience in Writing Is an Aid to Memory. Of course, authoring texts in the twentieth century is an altogether different matter. Given the advancements and discoveries in time and space, energy and the mind, over one hundred years marks a significant shift in the affects of these discoveries on thinking about perception and authorial point of view. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Memory and Perception II

Playing the Acoustic Guitar

to march across strings
fretted glide
silken web
and gangly leg

who tilts his head
to bend of string
and music curve
sways on bobbing neck

A conceit poem amongst the early notes for this series. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Memory and Perception, I.

Continuity and brevity – to go on: This series of posts will look at the poetics of perception in the work of Wordsworth, Lyn Hejinian, and Gertrude Stein, among others.

There must be sufficient reason to continue – having something to say, a PURPOSE. This is basic composition. To narrate is to tell a story, an event, a happening; something happens or happened. And the lyric is a brief descriptive moment of epiphany, discovery, and emotion. Nothing happens. Save in the mind, in place of the speaker, persona or between the speaker and another, perhaps one who s/he views. I am thinking of the Wordsworth poem “The Solitary Reaper,” wherein the speaker is looking on – he witnesses the field worker and has an emotional experience in his perception. But the happening is truncated. It is not a story per se of an event unfolding but the story of the speaker’s mind and the fluidity of thoughts and feelings attached to the experience. The reader is invited to have a similar experience inasmuch as the poet-witness ministers. One is not drawn into his experience, because his is a telling; rather one is invited to have an experience of the mind.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Poetry, Memory, and the Arts

The following essay is a collection of notes written in preparation for the poetry performance “Prophesy,” written and performed by Alifair Skebe at The Fuze Box in Albany, New York on March 19, 2004.

Photo by Dan Wilcox

Looking for the Gods

It’s the recognition that makes remembering special.

Shepherds of the wilderness, wretched things of shame, mere bellies, we know how to speak many false things as though they were true; but we know, when we will, to utter true things.
The Muses, Hesiod, Theogony.

Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory, begets nine daughters known as The Muses.

Poets can gain admittance to both collective memory and personal memory through a creative process understood as The Muses. When invoked, praised, and worshipped, the muses speak through the body and art of the poet. Through inspiration, a taking in of the breath, their voices move through the body with free access to the mind. However, when the poet tries to capture them to possess them, a kind of madness ensues. The muse is lost; the poet despairs, or worse even, spiritually dies like Hesiod’s fanatical king who falls, dashing his head against a rock.