Friday, June 25, 2004

Inquiry on the image:

Well, as seems to be part of a natural life cycle, the blog's been dormant for a week or so. Not surprising since I know Joe and Chad have been in transit, and Jorge has been chasing monkeys in the subway and I've been burying my feet corn husks.

Anyhow, here's another topic for us to toss around: the image. The creative writing 101 idea is that the image stands in to replace abstractions, or gives real-seeming detail to emotional situations. Do you believe in a sort of 'objective correlative'? Does this still seem valid to you? What do we want from the image? What does it do for a poem? More importantly, what is the poetic image's relationship to reality itself? Should it be faithful to 'reality'? What type of imitation is implied in it? Is it mimetic of the 'world out there' or is it mimetic to a speaker's emotional frame of mind? Is the image more than mere 'detail,' concrete verbal substance which differs from abstract language only in its reference point? Or is there something more behind it? I ask these questions simply because I've been thinking that the 20th century might be called the age of the image (not merely visual art, cinema, etc., but as a nearly unquestioned source of value in poetry). Sometimes I get the feeling that image, detail, location, are merely dramatic devices and ultimately over-contrived and predictable. Besides, why such hyper-allergic reactions to abstraction? Shakespeare's sonnets aren't exactly 'descriptive'. Then again, anyone who knows my work knows I have a love for what one might call imagery.

Please post yr thoughts and perhaps a poem or two to consider imagistically.


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