TO PROVE THE FELT CONTRACTION
Williams’ Spring and All
WHAT”S YOUR PROBLEM?
modern “life [is violently sieving] through its own multiformity” (101) and there are traumatic “changes in the form of existence which have let words empty.” (100)
“There is a constant barrier between the reader and his consciousness of immediate contact with the world (88)”
WELL, HOW YOU GONNA FIXIT
“But the thing he never knows and never dares to know is what he is at the exact moment that he is. And this moment is the only thing in which i am at all interested. (89)”
“To refine, to clarify, to intensify that eternal moment in which we alone live there is but a single force–the imagination. (89)”
THAT SOUNDS GOOD BUT MAKE SURE YOU CREATE A DUALITY and HYPERBOLICALLY DEMONIZE ONE: ON THE HOLOCAUSTAL AND PRACTICAL IMAGINATIONS
“holocaustal” imagination (drunk with prohibition (93))- “a new sort of murder” (90) — kills all life and poetry
“practical” imagination (100) — the “farmer” and “fisherman” — “they rediscover or replace demoded meanings to the religious terms / among them, without expansion of imagination, there is the residual contact between life and the imagination which is essential to freedom…Bare handed the man contends with the sky, without experience of existence seeking to invent and design” (100)
Q: what are the negative effects of the imagination in both society and poetry?
Q: why does “only the imagination [remain] undeceived.” (Does it relate to approaching Spring?HOPE (97)?)
Q: what is the use of the ‘rhetoric of war’ (98) in an aesthetic argument?
Q: why do we need a practical imagination?
AND THE DUALISM OF PROSE AND POETRY:
Williams gives us a hint: “I myself seek to enter the lists with these few notes jotted down in the midst of the action, under distracting circumstances — to remind myself (see p.89, paragraph 2) of the truth.
his reference, i think, is to this: “But the thing he never knows and never dares to know is what he is at the exact moment that he is. And this moment is the only thing in which i am at all interested. (89)”
another hint from Williams: “Prose has to do with the fact of an emotion; poetry has to do with the dynamization of emotion into a separate form.” (refer to page 133)
Q: what do the poems contribute? what does the prose contribute? how do their contributions intersect?
can we point out some textual examples of this intersection?
DONT FORGET TO ATTACK SYMBOLISM….
“Crude symbolism is to associate emotion with natural phenomena such as anger with lightning, flowers with love…Such work is empty.
AND TO DEFINE NATURE:
“It is the common thing which is anonymously about us (101)” — further interest about nature on page 121
NOW, WITH EMPHASIS:
“What i put down of value will have this value: an escape from crude symbolism, the annihilation of strained associations, complicated ritualistic forms designed to separate the work from ‘reality’ — such as rhyme, meter as meter and not as the essential of the work, one of its words…
The work will be in the realm of the imagination as plain as the sky is to a fisherman — A very clouded sentence. The word must be put down for itself, not as a symbol of nature but a part, cognizant of the whole — aware — civilized.” (102)
Q: how do we parse that clouded sentence?
NOW YOU MUST TELL US WHY POETRY MUST BE MADE NEW (WHY SO MUCH DEPENDS UPON IT)– AND IT BETTER BE BETTER THAN “EVERY NEW AGE REQUIRES A NEW CONFESSION”
“The inevitable flux of the seeing eye toward measuring itself by the world it inhabits can only result in himself crushing humiliation unless the individual raise to some approximate co-extension with the universe. This is possible only through the imagination. Only through the agency of this force can a man feel himself moved largely with sympathetic impulses at work. (105)”
here is the quite interesting (and somewhat difficult / provocative) turn into poetry:
“In the composition, the artist does exactly what every eye must do with life, fix the particular with the universality of his own personality — Taught by the largeness of his imagination to feel every form which he sees moving within himself, he must prove the truth of this by expression.
The contraction which is felt.” 105
“Understood in a practical way, without calling upon mystic agencies it is that life becomes actual only when it is identified with ourselves. When we name it, life exists. (115)
The self is defined “measures itself” by an “approximate co-extension” with the world, which is only possible through a practical imagination – and poetry must be made new because the artist shows how to measure the self and develop sympathetic impulses (as opposed to holocaustal) — poetry is the proof of the proximate union between self and world – and thus proof of the possible sympathy/empathy of self with the other — as well as the actualization of life itself — all of which is “anterior to technique (transcription), that can have only a sequent value”
so then, how does it work: “the release from physical necessity (106)” an enlargement and expansion…”it 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.” (107)
OK, IM ALMOST CONVINCED, SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO
“To perfect the ability to record at the moment when the consciousness is enlarged by the sympathies and the unity of understanding which the imagination gives, to practice skill in recording the force moving, then to know it, in the largeness of its proportions –” (120)