Sunday, December 11, 2005

Reality and Its Antecedents: Fifty Statements on Life and Art

1. Nature is weak in narrative.
2. Indeterminacy has been overdetermined.
3. Nothing is worse than a reasonable poem.
4. Surrealism is a form of the metaphysical.
5. The metaphysical is a form of empty space.
6. Empty space is the source of all creation.
7. In postmodern culture, irony is taken on faith.
8. Style is feeling in search of a sentence.
9. The future is unlived. But it can be experienced.
10. The sign of a good writer is how variously he expresses his one idea.
11. "It is only the point of view that creates the object" (Saussure).
12. Nothing is less erotic than a paragraph.
13. The future has a long history.
14. The present is always a little behind the times.
15. To read the world is also to write it.
16. The soul is nothing but knows something.
17. The tenets of postmodern cosmology are:
a. Since nothing has unity including the object, only the broken is real.
b. The broken (the fragmentary, the flawed, and the half-made) is therefore ideal.
18. Lyric poetry rescues pain from the jaws of pleasure.
19. "Beauty-impurities in the rock" (Lorine Niedecker).
20. "The poet takes too many messages." (Jack Spicer).
21. A poem creates pleasure through the impossibility of completely grasping it.
22. The folk poet is "one-among-the-people," therefore socially at ease.
23. The postmodern poet is "one-among-strangers," therefore restless.
24. Each poem requires a new language.
25. Imagism is objectification in a moment of feeling.
26. Objectivism is imagism in a moment of syntax.
27. Of the senses, touch is most distant.
28. Of the literary genres, poetry and plays are the most ceremonial. This explains their
long association.
29. Poetry values the unknown, the real, the potential, and the silent — everything, that is,
which has no value.
30. Poetry always begins with a sounding.
31. Poetry is closer to the rune and spell than it is to conversation.
32. Lyricism is slowness, as in the drawing of a curved line. This is why nature, which has
no straight lines (Emerson), often verges on the sublime.
33. Artifice is also required of the authentic.
34. "Man is a curious being whose center of gravity is not in himself" (Francis Ponge).
35. "The eye has knowledge the mind cannot share" (Hayden Carruth).
36. Poetry is desire having words with itself.
37. The unstitching of a line (Yeats) is more important than its stitching.
38. Life is closer to art than it is to aesthetics.
39. Nothingness is only a concept — the world is filled.
40. The symbol for infinity should be on the keyboard.
41. The most impressive thing about a parade is the leisure you have to watch it.
42. The tragic hero is a bad reader.
43. Irony is a form of sincerity.
44. Music is silence making itself complex.
45. "All deep things are song" (Thomas Carlyle).
46. The closer it is to absurdity (without passing into it), the better a work of art.
47. Without thought, there can be no feeling.
48. Poetry might as well be profound.
49. The serenity of objects disguises their anxiety (cf. de Chirico).
50. "If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition would have left him alone" (Thomas Hardy).

-- Paul Hoover


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