Thursday, August 26, 2004

Joe’s response is a good one. In referencing Lautreamont and the surprise inherent in that famous image, you approach the classic surrealist (via Reverdy) definition of imagery which insists upon the ‘spark’ created by two disparate elements (usually of ‘reality’ or of the words in question) brought together. And above all, this notion of the ‘nebulousness’ of imagery really interests me. It seems an inevitable condition of the verbal image. No matter what, the sewing machine you see is not the sewing machine I see. In a preface to the collaborative book Ralentir Travaux, Breton writes:

"Everybody has seen a table but when we say table the trouble is that right now this table is for M. Breton a café table (because he drinks), for M. Char a gambling table (because he does not gamble), for M. Eluard an operating table (because this morning he passed by the Place d’Opéra)."

Joe, if I get you, you’re suggesting that poet’s make this inevitable vagueness work to their advantage in imagery which encompasses at once the physical and the abstract (?) ... This seems highly Ashberian to me, which is not a bad thing.

I disagree, perhaps, that the Lautreamont line is effective because of the abstract half. It is a metaphor (a simile--if I have time, I’ll dig thru the book and find the reference), so that throws a wrench in it anyone--Lautreamont’s not even suggesting a real encounter, merely an analogy. But still, sans analogy, sans the abstraction "beautiful," I think "the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella upon a dissecting table" is just as effective.

This imagery question stuck to me in early summer ‘cause it seemed like so much of contemp[orary][tible] poetry cheapens the notion of the objective correlative in some sort of highly personal, melodramatic equation, such as: emotional situation + appropriate image = beautiful poem, and all this strikes me as rehearsed and predictable.

I also think it’s important to question those ‘unquestioned’ values. There must be room for abstraction in poetry for there is room for it in language and thought. Perhaps the death of abstraction is the marriage of sentimentality and abstraction. Yikes! That’s the road no one comes back from...

I don’t know... other thoughts? anyone? hello hello?

Vicky, don't have a cow. We love you. We're busy...


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