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POETRYETC  2001

POETRYETC 2001

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Subject:

Re: A contrary opinion of the worth of Ms Graham's recent poems

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 2 Aug 2001 11:43:20 +1000

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> Is this inability related to a
>frequent emptiness in her verse rhythms that denies an orgasmic utterance, a
>certainty of being?  the poet is searching, searching for a "secret we don't
>know we're trying to find."  All is the quiet though  insistent voice of the
>searcher in exile, without fullness, with only the attempt
>to touch, without the ability to yield to the final utterance of being."

Thanks for that, Harriet - I think you've illuminated for me why I
haven't been able to read Graham; I've started books and just put them
down after a few pages, and have never followed up why the work hasn't
excited me, apart from a vague thought about rhythm.

I've been reading Douglas Oliver again lately, and there's a poet who
does take the gamble of articulating being in language, but quietly and
forcefully, without an ounce of sentiment; a startling humility at times,
which is articulated with a poetic skill which at times is breathtaking.
He had the courage to implode his intellectual structures if the human
honesty of the poem required it, but he was never unintelligent, and he
achieves a raw sense of feeling which is remarkable, and unusual - it
makes me think of that line of Nietzsche's (which haunts me, and which
I'm about to misquote) - The poets have not thought deeply enough, they
have not understood feeling.  Oliver was able to think deeply enough to
come to real feeling.  I liked this, from the prologue to the poem/prose
sequence An Island That Is All The World, in relation to various other
discussions which have been happening here:

What does it mean to talk of spirituality in poetry when no religious
belief lies behind the inquiry?  An unfashionable question... Literary
philosophy cannot escape scepticism or programmatic ambiguity about
spiritual issues because we are trapped in a web of language, doomed, it
seems, to disbelieve in the unity of self and of artistic forms: along
with that, goes a loss of spirit.  Such theorists are dangerous guides in
areas where the poem, on the other hand, can make evident to the
simple-hearted: "This happened - spirit entered language and
simultaneously I perceived such and such sights, spoke such and such
words."

Best

Alison

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