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.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A General Update

For those following the story, I have been struck with a touch of computer misfortune. As such, I do not expect to be posting anything here for the next couple of weeks. In part, it is simply because of the hassles of decreased connectivity. In part, though, I am turning the disconnect into an opportunity to focus on a couple of larger projects that have been cluttering up the desk for some time now.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Poetry that Writers of Poetry Have No Excuse Not Reading 3

Poetry that Writers of Poetry Have No Excuse Not Reading, Studying, and Reading Again, Parts 3


Developing the Poetic Ear


The bare truth of the matter:

Most of the people I have met who write poetry and write primarily if not wholly free verse are unable to give reason why they do not also write more formally rhythmic verse beyond comments that can always be reduced to "because I don't want to" or "I don't like to."

Granted, a writer should be writing toward where one's mind wants to explore and develop. But a writer developing their sophistication should also be writing and exploring where they need to develop. In that language is an aural event, that means also developing aural skills.

Let me be clear: the writing of people who have never taken the time and effort to develop their aural skills speaks that deficiency in their development. There will always be found the clunkiness, the absence of control, the jerky melodicism that one hears in the work of a poor musician. But more importantly, there will also be the absence of creating with sound. The whole point of the creative endeavor is to make beautiful things out of the chosen medium. So explain to me how one would willingly ignore one of the key aspects of the medium of language: the sound of the text.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Notes on the Idea of Organicism — Part II

Notes on Organicism in Literature

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

This second of my posts on organicism (the first preceding this one, here) is something of a patchwork quilt of notes, some short, some long, that attempt to take the information of Part I on the mechanistic and organic theories of artistic invention and expand them out from theory into praxis, and then also to show — if only in a beginning of such — how they are not artefacts of the history of ideas but observations and of the human psyche. There is no attempt here at presenting an organized, unified argument. Rather than lengthen the text by trying to tie it all together, I left this mostly as notes. There is only the barest ordering here. There is no attempt at continuity from one to the next.

As said in Part I, these posts were originally spawned by comments on FB about organicism. Those comments in part guide the subjects of these notes. Though, I did not intentionally structure the notes around the comments, nor are these notes solely guided by the comments: some moments were spurred by the writing of part I, and some I brought to the table myself.


Part I
Some Exploratory Notes


Section jump menu:
1. Note on Terminology
2. Organic and Inorganic "Design"
3. Organic "Unity"
4. The Organic Text and "Natural Laws"
5. Qualities of an Organic Text
6. Organicism from the Reader's Side
7. "How do you certify an organic text?"
8. How can the idea of the organic text be used as a critical tool?
9. Inorganic Literature


1. Note on Terminology

Within this commentary, when I am speaking outside of the context of Coleridge, I am going to shift the use of terminology and use inorganic as opposed to mechanical . Neither term is perfect: I believe the word mechanical is today too bound to the material idea of machine to fit well as the term of choice. Inorganic sets up the contrast to organic well, but it might be better if there was a word that did not use organic within it. Since Coleridge himself used inorganic, I am going to move mostly to that one, and give it a spin, as it were.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Notes on the Idea of Organicism — Part I: Coleridge

Notes on Organicism in Literature

— replaced the italics that was lost in translating to html 5/8/14
This post has been added to the Hatter's Cabinet site via its Best of the Poetry Daily Critique page

Right now, I am working on a number of interconnected explorations in the areas of prosody and meter, of Modernism and the aesthetic text, and of a groundwork on the subject of poetry/literature. As I work them through into words I will throw them up here part by part, without consideration as of now of generating a whole (or wholes). I figure two aims will be served: that they will this way be posted in small, digestible portions; and these posts could serve as an oven where they can bake while I work into the next parts.

The first couple – first in their appearance here but the last in their arrival to my desk – were spawned by a comment in a conversation on FB about organicism, which mostly could be summed up in a very simple question: "Ok, I get the idea of organicism in general, but what use does the idea have from a critical side or from the reader's side?" Which is actually a pretty good question. And, considering I throw the word (or its synonyms) around on this blog here and there, one that is probably worth addressing as a post.

So what I have done is broken it into two parts. This first part is a to-the-point explanation of what the idea of the organic text is, as it was generated by Coleridge in response to the then prevailing, mechanistic theory of invention. (Note that just because I say "then prevailing" does not mean it is not still prevailing, if in different terms. But that's another conversation.) Part II will be a loose collection of comments as regards the text. (It is still in progress. As I said, I've a number of projects going on at the same time.)

Part I
Coleridge's Theory of Organic Invention


The idea of organicism comes primarily from Coleridge, who was the first to develop a full, organic theory of invention. As concerns Coleridge, I am going to work out of M.H. Abrams's book The Mirror and the Lamp (1953, chapter VII). For those unfamiliar with that book, it is a seminal text on Romantic theory, and is about as safe a source of information on the subject as can be found.