the human world could have been anything (given the limits of the materials at hand)

The cherry blossoms at the top of this page are optimistic. We are nowhere near that point here yet. I am pleased to report my first sighting yesterday of a BLOSSOMING PLUM TREE (white blossoms) from the window of the F train near Smith and 9th St. Station. In other news, magnolia buds are getting plump and velvety, forsythia is FINALLY starting to bust out, and (sorry to anthropomorphize) those brave little souls, the crocuses, have been making themselves known for a little while now. Gawd, what could be duller than a poet writing about spring.

Further note on “poetry and personality”: I thought to post on it for two reasons. One was that an antagonist of mine objected to my Tzara epigraph at right, saying that it promoted a (merely) expressive (as opposed to investigative) poetics. The other was a conversation after Segue a couple of weekends ago with James Sherry, who said that in editing Folly he had really tried to get me to approach my revisions of the book in a way that would forefront the symbiosis of individual and environment, but that I had responded in such a way that merely forefronted my personality. Fair enough, but you can’t squeeze ecopoetics from a turnip. At least my writing has personality, or more accurately, personalities.

I don’t actually feel much symbiosis with “my environment” (the term itself makes the individual apostate, doesn’t it? we have to change the language to be more gins & arakavian). Do you? I feel like a Venusian. I’m mainly thinking of the human environment, since the human presence in the city I live in overwhelms the non-human, and maybe that’s why the weather is so bad, as revenge (nothing more pathetic than a fallacy!). Walking down a particularly ugly street yesterday, I felt a huge thought like a cold wind in my face that the human world could have been anything, with all our imagination and resourcefulness and technology… and it’s… this? Buildings these stolid unmovable remnants of history & capital, awkwardly placed freeways, stoplights, trees fighting back making the sidewalk bumpy; it’s all so drastically unacceptable. It’s the personality that responds to that with, you know, lyric protest, that “scrawny cry,” that (this) thin, operatic no!

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4 thoughts on “the human world could have been anything (given the limits of the materials at hand)

  1. Hi Nada,Imaginary or not, love the blooming blossoms.This quote from “Spring and All” made me think of you and your recent thoughts on personality, imagination, and poetry:“It [art] gives the feeling of completion by revealing the oneness of experience; it rouses rather than stupefies the intelligence by demonstrating the importance of personality, by showing the individual, depressed before it, that his life is valuable–when completed by the imagination. And then only. Such work elucidates–“

  2. Yes. That was why on Ron’s blog today I wrote that imagination does not equal <>langue<>, which is impersonal.I’m not sure, though, that imagination always helps me see my life as “valuable.” Valuable? I think the farthest I would go is “less boring” or even “less intolerable.”

  3. I know what you mean about the human made environment. . . it's so disappointing when you consider the alternatives. We could essentially all live in a large pleasant park which could at the same time have all of the advantages and technological supplementation of the gritty urban environment. . . most sidewalk is unnecessary (a surface of compressed organic material can be quite durable and better at absorbing water), etc. These people (The Tree People) think about these things: http://www.treepeople.org/vfp.dll?OakTree~getPage~&PNPK=206

  4. I want to investigate which antagonist objected to your epigraph?The only way that SF has ever been in advance of NY: plum blossoms. BTDT.OTOH your visual masthead is reality here now.

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