Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.

★★ The Latest Posts on Hatter's Adversaria
The Rational and SpiritualitySomething I Read #21 – C.K. Stead
Something I Read #20 – Carl JungSomething I Read #19 – Carl Jung

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Aphorisms on the Creative Endeavor I

– Fixed the link to the page on the site that broke along the way, June 9, 2016


I have a page on my site (here) where I used to occasionally (perhaps I should say infrequently) put down short aphorisms about aesthetic writing. With my wanting to integrate this blog more with my writing, I realized the opportunity to use this to build on that. Thus, we have here the first page of additions to that list.

The numbering starts here at '21' to coincide with the numbering on that page.


    The difference between "poetry" and "prose" as types of form is irrelevant to the creative process. If you begin by thinking one or the other, you have already limited your creating. Indeed, they are terms that are applied most accurately only with the least creative works. That is to say, they are only genres, and the creative endeavor is the opposite of the replication and reinforcement of genres.



    If you are going to use paragraphs in your writing, then those paragraphs should have a purpose. A paragraph is a unit of form — you cannot pretend it otherwise. Poor attention to paragraphs makes for poor creating and poorer reading. You throwing the burden of organization upon the reader, declaring yourself to the public too lazy to be bothered with it yourself, and your work too addlepated to know the difference.

    So also with line breaks and stanzas.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Rain of Statues" by Sarah Lindsey — Poetry Daily, April 21, 2014

from Poetry (April 2014)
poem found here

First lines:
Our general was elsewhere, but we drowned.
While he rested, he shipped us home


why the basics are so important (at least, to me)


A short and simple post. An object lesson in that poetry — writing — is not merely putting words on paper. A demonstration that there is a certain level of basic technique and knowledge that should be had, and a certain level that should be mastered if you at all want your work to be taken seriously.

Look at the very first line:

Our general was elsewhere, but we drowned.

Here is the very simple and obvious question: In what way are those phrases in a 'but' relationship?

The answer: they are not. The five definitions provided by are quite sufficient to the proof:

1. on the contrary; yet
Our general was elsewhere, yet we drowned.
So then they successfully drowned even though the general was elsewhere? They didn't need his leadership to pull it off?
2. except; save
Our general was elsewhere, except we drowned.
If you squint a bit it could mean Our general was elsewhere except when we drowned. Which is silly.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Modigliani's Cellist" by Barbara Siegel Carlson — Verse Daily, April 10, 2014

from Fire Road (Dream Horse Press)
poem found here

First lines:
He plays to the violet walls,
to the window’s curly brown shadows


ekphrastic poetry and ideational strength

This post has been added to the Hatter's Cabinet site via its Best of the Poetry Daily Critique page

A couple of days ago VerseDaily offered us another ekphrastic poem. As I have said in an earlier post (here), ekphrastic poetry has always intrigued me. When done well there can be very interesting energies created between the poem and the work.

This poem is an engagement with Modigliani's work The Cellist. This post will be wholly exploration: intending only to prompt ideas as to the nature of ekphrastic poetry, this poem, and of ideation of poems in general. (Though, some critique will be unavoidable.) Let me put in an image:

I want to work this by talking abstractly before pointing to the text of the poem. So, let me open with a question: Is the poem too skimpy? Does it not work as well as it might because it relies too heavily upon the work? An ekphrastic poem is meant to be an engagement with a work of another medium, but it still must be a poem. There has to be ideas and energies generated within the poem that are beyond the ideation of the subject art work, or the poem is not doing anything beyond using many words to say "look at that painting."

Monday, April 7, 2014

When Four Plus Three Does Not Equal Seven — An Hypothesis for Testing

an exploration of measure and musical phrasing


This thought popped into my head just not that long ago — not for the first time, by any means, but this time in a context that made me stop and think. Like anything with the aesthetic there is no fixed truth or definition being sought here, only presentation of an hypothesis meant for exploration of the event.

I'll present it in the form of question and answer:

Why (or how, if you prefer) is ballad measure (4-3-4-3) not the same as heptameter couplets (7-7)?
Ballad measure is actually a variaton of tetrameter, 4-4-4-4, only the last beat of the second and fourth lines are implied and not overtly stated.

This is wholly hypothesis, and I can already see a way that the wording above creates a problem with the idea being explored. Also, there needs be the question of the difference between a four-line stanza against a two-line stanza (which by necessity brings in the issue of enjambement). I am now wondering if I can think of examples to the contrary (which is where there exploration would get really interesting.)


(I have the want to say more in introduction but I am intentionally holding off so it can remain an open point of exploration. Perhaps I might come back and add to this in the future. Perhaps as part of a future post exploring Pound's definition of the poetic line as a musical phrase: something, to me, which is blatantly obvious once stated. But for now, I'll leave it as merely suggestion for open exploration.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Ticket That Exploded (excerpt) by William S. Burroughs

(Grove Press, 1967)

the aural effects of poetic grammar


So I've been re-reading William S. Burroughs's Nova Trilogy (in part for fun, in part for exploration). For transparency, I am a huge fan of Burroughs's works (though I have not read the couple earlier, more narrative works).

The Nova Trilogy (which is made up of The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded, and Nova Express) is generally considered a masterwork of the cut up process. I do not see how someone can say they are not difficult reads. For one, the three books feed each other, at times out of order of the pages. For another, part of the result of the cut up technique is that a fragment read a cut up passages usually has its source in a straight(er) narrative passage — which can also appear later in the works. (As well, a phrase sometimes appears in multiple narrative passages, which adds more to the play.) As such — and I speak from experience this being my third time around &mdash they are easier to reread than read. But, then, as Barthes pointed out, aesthetic literature cannot be read; it can only be re-read.

Of course, there is also the more fundamental difficulty in that even at the level of the passages of straight narrative, the books do not have an overlaying narrative structure. But then, as it is stated within The Ticket That Exploded: "this is a novel presented in a seried of oblique references" (13).

While reading Ticket I had the idea to present a part of the text as written, and reformat it a couple of ways — including using line breaks — simply to put out and example of a well written cut-up text (so, simultaneously fragmentary and unified) to explore how format affects reading. For most of the trilogy the cut-ups are separated with dashes. What if you changed it to periods? What if you broke it up into lines?