Saturday, March 15, 2008

Metonymy as an Approach to a Real World

Whether what we sense of this world
is the what of this world only, or the what
of which of several possible worlds
—which what?—something of what we sense
may be true, may be the world, what it is, what we sense.
For the rest, a truce is possible, the tolerance
of travelers, eating foreign foods, trying words
that twist the tongue, to feel that time and place,
not thinking that this is the real world.

Conceded, that all the clocks tell local time;
conceded, that “here” is anywhere we bound
and fill a space; conceded, we make a world:
is something caught there, contained there,
something real, something which we can sense?
Once in a city blocked and filled, I saw
the light lie in the deep chasm of a street,
palpable and blue, as though it had drifted in
from say, the sea, a purity of space.

--William Bronk (1964)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Intimate Listening

Suppose we think of the poem as its own intimate listener, listening closely to itself as it is being composed and later interpreted, acting upon the receptive poet (the original maker of the poem or the reader who makes the poem up each time he or she engages with it) so as to become real. As such the poem exists as a dynamic and ever-potential phenomenon seeking out its listener.

Listening implies relation, at the least between the speaker and the spoken-to. But deep listening (or, intimate listening, the kind of listening so characteristic of analytic listening) implies certain qualities about the relation—close attention, mutuality, evocation of “potentiality”, idealization?.... It is an aspect of what is therapeutic—the assumption that what we have failed to know, speak and hear lies behind what distresses us; once we speak the formerly unknown to a listening other and to an accepting and reflective other-in-self, we become better able to live our lives well.