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
Something I Read #17 – D.S. SavageDelillo's Underworld – a Review/Response
Visual Labyrinths in Body DoubleSomething I Read #16 – David Perkins

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Burial at Thebes and "Hercules and Antaeus" by Seamus Heaney

A Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004);
"Hercules and Antaeus" is found in Selected Poems: 1966-1987 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1990), originally from North (1975)

exploring the poetic-prosaic axis through example

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

I have be dwelling these last couple of posts[FN] on the idea as presented by Owen Barfield in Poetic Diction of recognizing that a literary text (or any text of any medium) can and should be analyzed through the recognition that the material and ideational elements of a text are two different (though not independent) elements of the text. That to speak of the material aspect — the verse-prose spectrum — is of a different subject than speaking of the ideational (spiritual) aspect — the poetic-prosaic spectrum.

[FN] In order, "'Hymn to Life' by Timothy Donnelly", "'A Way' by Rosanna Warren" and "Re-examining the Verse-Prose Poetic-Prosaic Graph"

Consequential to that idea — and central to its importance — is the recognition that what makes poetry art, the aesthetic aspects of it, that nature of poetry, literature, and art in general that sustains the idea that true art speaks of the highest natures of humankind, does not lie in the material but lies in the ideational/spiritual. That is, what makes poetry poetry, what makes it art, is not found in the material, in verse. Rhyme and meter, or structure of whatever kind, may work to the poetic or prosaic aspects of a text, but they in themselves are not part of that spiritual spectrum.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Re-examining the Verse-Prose Poetic-Prosaic Graph

correcting some problems in an earlier post – a theoretic exploration


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


A couple of posts ago (this one) I used a diagram that depicted literary texts (and art in general) as being describable by two axes: one the material, one the spiritual, as described by Owen Barfield in his Poetic Diction. Barfield does not present the two spectra as axes on a graph; and, even in creating that highly technical graphic, I knew intuitively that it was not, as a representation of the possibilities of literature, a terribly accurate one, and may be creating more false ideas than it was presenting valid ideas.

So I gave the graph an afternoon's exploration. Seeing, now, that there is a problem in making the jump from "we can – and should – talk about literature recognizing two related but distinguishable spectra" to "we can make a visual graph of those spectra by crossing them," I think it is something of a necessity to offer a correction to my previous graph-work. Especially in that the quality of the graphics themselves might have falsely created an authority of voice that was never really intended.

Though, having now finished that exploration (or, having taken it as far as I wish to take it), I see also there there need to put up front here a note. A reader's guide. A suggestion to how to read and get anything out of the following. That is, the graphs themselves are, in the below, the least important part of the exploration.


We can get a grasp on the material axis if we wholly divorce it from the spiritual axis[FN], which is to say isolate it as far as is possible from meaning in its broadest conception: an entirely artificial act, but workable so long as we stay alert to its limits. (For an exaggerated comparison, imagine reducing the discourse about fish to the shape of their dorsal fin without any other consideration. Yes, we can make useful analyses in such a manner, but they can only ever be limited – even limited in their own validity – until we bring in the rest of the body.)