From Chaos and Cry


A compelling post from Desperado Philosophy looks at the question of poetic language and poetry’s place in our day.

Desperado Philosophy

This past week, we have been mulling a question asked way back in the 1970s by Hans-Georg Gadamer, a question that still hangs heavily in the air above our heads all these years later: Are the Poets Falling Silent? With Gadamer, each word always carries its own complex ring; the meanings of “falling” and “silent” are not what they first appear to be.

Below, we share excerpts from a text that is rather difficult to find online, yet one that would enliven the library of anyone who seeks inspiration within that vivid liminal zone where poetry and philosophy become one breathing creature.  The poem, closely read by Gadamer within the essay, is from the pen of Gottfried Benn.

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Disappointment


* We push disappointment ahead of ourselves like a bulldozer scraping earth. * Whatever attracts us is held at arm’s length. Destroyed as it comes into reach. We seek to break from our disappointment. Instead, all is broken upon our desire. * We push disappointment ahead of ourselves like a bulldozer scraping earth. * Desire… Continue reading Disappointment

The Landscape of Humility


This is the landscape of humility. We tend to jump to a call for humility when we see a great action of hubris out there in the world. It's easy to cry out, "Shame!" and "demand" humility from the malfeasants at a time like this. When we do so, we skip right past humility into anger safely directed at some other. On the flip-side, we tend to feel some rising shame in ourselves and turn to some show of penance as a sign of our own humility. The self-consciousness and the mixture of piety and victimization we relish in at such times to guard ourselves from our humiliation – notice how in this context, all the rightness of humility evaporates in our self-justification. At such times we slip right past humility again into just another variety of self-serving behavior. In neither case do we inhabit humility, or truly promote its spread in this world.

the Mainstream’s Misunderstanding


This is where art comes in. It's not in essays or speeches, all of which are so hard to distinguish from polemic by their very form, that minds can be affected. In fiction, in visual art, in poetry we have the best means of establishing a body of shareable "experiences" that begin to forge a new way of being in the world. These can have the effect of drawing people to them as opposed to simply setting up their defenses to resist new ideas. In an eagerness to misunderstand whenever someone hears that "poetry is the answer," they will only see whatever form of art they personally dislike and find easy to discount. Probe a little deeper and there isn't anyone who isn't affected by poetry, of the kind they do open themselves to, by whatever name it goes by.

From Wood End…


Today, I'm inaugurating a new experiment. I'm posting my first non-essay, a poem, From Wood End… As I mentioned in the last post, while I am drawn to direct address, the essay form; I find creative writing, whether fiction or poetry, long or short, to carry meaning in a way that can be more powerful… Continue reading From Wood End…