"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aesthetic openness

is my way. Why? I prefer variety. I want the signs I use to be partners in what I make. Do I never force my will on those signs? Not never, but wicked wonders they often are/ that have in them wisdoms I would miss if I was always constraining them to my designs. Let them breathe. Stanley Kunitz believed poems come as a kind of blessing. So do I. Besides, though I do want my artifacts to please and enhance, I don't demand praise for any of them. I realize I'm taking risks, and that in the end I might be a lonely and forgotten group of one, but if that is the fate of my project I'll still have the satisfaction of knowing I did not shatter/ my own lights. Moment-to- moment each must do as each sees. Like Jon Anderson said about his: my poetry is not for everyone. (But, Brian, you don't write poems. Well, shit. That's right: that's what it is. Thank you.) So, how does this aesthetic openness play out? Oddly. For one thing, lines become more important to me than whole poems. I know: that's true for a lot of people. However, if two people read 25 poems and were asked to pick 25 lines, one from each poem, it would be a tad freaky if their choices were the same. To begin with, person 1 might pick a line from poem 4 because it was hilarious, while person 2 picked a line from poem 4 because it was sonorous. Have me pick a line from 4 and I might pick one because it had a word in it I was unfamiliar with. I'm the same way with popular songs. Staggeringly weak rote memory. When I write I try to in this noisy world deepen my concentration. Nonetheless, anything can happen. There are ways of making poems I am unlikely to ever try. During the last two years though/ I did try several of the less demanding, especially in my This Day's Poem e-chap and in my online June 2007 book. From ditties on through muttobs, and bad / mediocre / good poems, most of those I've written and am writing are online. Muttobs exist in a space between ditties and poems but it is a fuzzy space. "Dog On" is an example. It has six one-word lines, and each word begins with an "m". Notice the two conventions I do not follow. There are others. There are new ones I've adopted and new ones I've invented. I am certain I am not the only one doing such things. As an undergrad in the mid 1960s the professor I took a history of the English language course under/ predicted that the apostrophe would fall out use and that eventually the language would devolve to grunts and groans. I have no clue about the language, and "it's" seems to be the only sticker re the apostrophe. As to what happened to the semicolon, I still use it. I also use the slash (virgule) as a pause notation. In my time I have lived through many technologies. During my childhood we had a mimeograph. We even got into laminating and wood burning. My dad set ads for the local newspaper, but we never explored the world of fonts and presses at home and nothing aroused an interest in me about that world. I have consistently used basic HTML since coming online in 2000, but I was more into math than poetry at that time. There too I went my own way. So I am out there, or in here, or somewhere: I am a flutterby. One day--last year, I think--I got the idea I could produce a book of 1024 blank pages. It would be my collected works. Invisible Ink would be its title. I mention this because I don't want K G to one-up me on it. Lawrence Sterne is probably laughing. Doesn't all this tickle your widgets. A few years ago--maybe it was in 2004--I created a new Olympic sport: Dot Dancing. There's an explanation of it in one of my journals. See my "2 Curious Lines" poem (?) in the ghost in the dumpster and read my comment on it if you happen to read this and have not yet read that. Contagious cadenzas. kh00005

1 comment:

brian salchert said...

To contradict myself:
-
Recently
because I wanted to try something
I imposed a constraint on a set
and thereby discovered facts
about that set
I likely would not have otherwise.

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