Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I imagine that the way I am before poetry is the way many are before contemporary art. Most of the time, I just don’t get it. I want something to hold on to – a narrative, an opinion – but, usually when I think I’ve got something, I get befuddled in the next line. I have a hard time going with the flow, letting the image rise up in my head, letting go of analysis.
I’ve got a huge challenge in front of me, then, with Paul Celan, whose 1960s poems experimented with poetics (I think I know what that means). He lay his faith in the word, not the lyricism of the word, and consequently many of his words are invented. I’m fascinated when I read about his poetry, but when I have an example in front of me, I need to draw on patience and a loose mind. You can’t rush through them.
Here’s an example, from his book Breathturn, translated from the German:
NO SANDART ANYMORE, no sandbook,
Nothing in the dice. How
Your question – your answer.
Your chant, what does it know?