A blog about the craft of writing and teaching writing; the intersections of poetry, art and life; and the writings, performances, and thoughts of poet Alifair Skebe. A sometimes online magazine of poetry, essays, and art.
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.
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.