Category Archives: Poetry

Recours au poème

Oui.

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Adorno on lyric poetry and society

I would like to have time to contemplate this essay by Adorno. Here is some commentary:

The artwork, the lyric poem, is not there either to tell us about the paradoxical nature of being, which is something we need already to have felt in order to recognize and enjoy the paradox in the work. Nor can the artwork solve the contradiction, which is impossible, whether by Hegelian Aufhebung of Spirit, technological progress, theocratic takeover, or communist revolution. Rather, the lyric poem, like other kinds of art but with its special focus on language as both sound and sense, helps us live with our inevitable conflicts and contradictions, by imitating their expression in an attitude of play. In the wit and poignancy of this play, the “lyric subject” is not a subject but its very contrary: the opportunity to tease out the contradictions about subjectivity that bother us all the time, in such a way as to make their contradictory parts appear in an aesthetically pleasing whole, pleasing precisely because of the tensions at work to form its unity. As long as we remain human—that is, able to speak and more or less understand language and to think more or less rationally, and able to reflect upon our actions and to consider their implications—we will continue to need, and to create, lyric poetry, the playful imitation of the voice in which conflicts become paradoxes and things of pain become opportunities for the pleasure of a surprising recognition.

Here is the original text, written in 1957, and I am interested first in page 44.

It is a whole world, and I would like to have figured out Adorno and a few related writers long since.

Axé.

 

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More from TALA

 La extranjera

A Francis de Miomandre

—«Habla con dejo de sus mares bárbaros,
con no sé qué algas y no sé qué arenas;
reza oración a dios sin bulto y peso,
envejecida como si muriera.
En huerto nuestro que nos hizo extraño,
ha puesto cactus y zarpadas hierbas.
Alienta del resuello del desierto
y ha amado con pasión de que blanquea,
que nunca cuenta y que si nos contase
sería como el mapa de otra estrella.
Vivirá entre nosotros ochenta años,
pero siempre será como si llega,
hablando lengua que jadea y gime
y que le entienden sólo bestezuelas.
Y va a morirse en medio de nosotros,
en una noche en la que más padezca,
con sólo su destino por almohada,
de una muerte callada y extranjera».

–G.M. (I am in a Gabriela Mistral discovery phase.)

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Beber

I think this is from Tala.

BEBER

Al doctor Pedro de Alba

Recuerdo gestos de criaturas
y son gestos de darme el agua.

En el valle de Río Blanco,
en donde nace el Aconcagua,
llegué a beber, salté a beber
en el fuete de una cascada,
que caía crinada y dura
y se rompía yerta y blanca.
Pegué mi boca al hervidero,
y me quemaba el agua santa,
y tres días sangró mi boca
de aquel sorbo del Aconcagua.

En el campo de Mitla, un día
de cigarras, de sol, de marcha,
me doblé a un pozo y vino un indio
a sostenerme sobre el agua,
y mi cabeza, como un fruto,
estaba dentro de sus palmas.
Bebía yo lo que bebía,
que era su cara con mi cara,
y en un relámpago yo supe
carne de Mitla ser mi casta.

En la Isla de Puerto Rico,
a la siesta de azul colmada,
mi cuerpo quieto, las olas locas,
y como cien madres las palmas,
rompió una niña por donaire
junto a mi boca un coco de agua,
y yo bebí, como una hija,
agua de madre, agua de palma.
Y más dulzura no he bebido
con el cuerpo ni con el alma.

A la casa de mis niñeces
mi madre me llevaba el agua.
Entre un sorbo y el otro sorbo
la veía sobre la jarra.
La cabeza más se subía
y la jarra más se abajaba.
Todavía yo tengo el valle,
tengo mi sed y su mirada.
Será esto la eternidad
que aún estamos como estábamos.

Recuerdos gestos de criaturas
y son gestos de darme el agua.

–Gabriela Mistral

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We’re going to let it shine

“I’m so glad I’m fighting for my rights, singing glory Hallelujah, I’m so glad.”

#OccupyHE

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Dérèglement des sens

Is the way these poems work in part by having an auditory aspect, a soundtrack that does not quite fit what is emerging visually? And to have a sense of touch working in still a third way? I do not have time to work this out now but there is something symphonic happening, or some kind of rock and roll, some back beat.

People try to read poems like coded messages and they are wrong on this. I do not really have any options, anyway, so I should stop being so depressed and be a professor.

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Virginia Woolf

To write one needs money and a room of one’s own, it is said, but I say one needs access to self, a clean and well lit space (or an otherwise adequately comfortable one), and peace of mind. Without these things no methodologies apply — even those which do otherwise, like Archambeau’s.

Today’s reading indicates that while many modernist and avant-garde poets attempt to fix a scene through vision, Vallejo grounds his work in sound (and emphasizes the other senses as well) … and that poetry is dialogic.

#OccupyHE

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