If “experiences at the limit of what can be apprehended” be the working definition of “sublime”, then Miller’s is and is not a sublime work, since it hovers within and beyond the limits of what can be apprehended, and in this is a speculative and phenomenological poetry.This blurb called up others I’ve stumbled over in recent years, though I haven’t taken the time to run them down. Maybe it’s time for a recurring post called “Bad Blurbs.” Anyone interested is welcome to send me examples as you discover them; I’ll post the blurb, a link to the book (with the standard author-is-blameless disclosure), and cite my informant as the source. Sound like fun?
The diver photographed au ralenti
cuts a spider arabesque
and maybe that figure is identical
with his life. The man standing on the diving-board
is dead again, the swimmer going
back to the board after diving is dead,
the photographer’s dead, the man applauding the event
was never born.
And so? Is it alive—
the space filled by every living thing?
Pity for the eyes, for the objective,
pity for everything that appears,
pity for those leaving and those arriving,
pity for those who achieve or have achieved,
pity for those who know that all and nothing
are two veils of the Unpronounceable,
pity for those who know it, for those who say it,
for those who don’t know it and grope
in the darkness of words!
—Eugenio Montale, from Poetic Diary, 1971, translated by William Arrowsmith in The Collected Poems of Eugenio Montale
“[I]n the Andes [before the Conquest] people did not write but wove meaning into knotted cords, the khipu. The interaction between weaver and cord creates meaning. The knot is witness to the exchange. The word ‘Quechua,’ the most widespread language of the Andes, means ‘twisted grass.’ Language itself is seen as weaving, so the ‘wrote’ with threads.”
—”An Introduction to Mestizo Poetics,” by Cecilia Vicuña, in The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry
I hit “post” earlier today without the following, which I’d planned to include….
An echo here of William Michaelian’s nostalgic post about his home town library. Here’s mine: Woodbury Public Library, a Carnegie library like William’s, but situated in Northwest Denver:
|Woodbury Library, 1918|
|Woodbury Library, 2008|