HD BLOG 29: "You find all this?"

i’ve added more blog links, so check them out and say hello. today i bought fancy paper (100% cotton) and printed out my thesis…yes, that means it’s done! i am still working on the preface, but i should finish that tomorrow and then i have to deliver it to the program office…that will be a wonderful drive into san francisco with manuscript in hand. oh yeah, if anyone is going to be in SF on AUG 22 and 23, i will be reading at USF as part of our graduate reading…so you are invited!

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this HD post is going to be fun! especially for all you HD HATERS! if you ever thought HD was cliche, boring, out-dated, hippie, crazy, etc…then HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO VOICE IT!!! OR, if you’re like me, and you like HD but also like to have fun making fun of poets (where’s Kent Johnson when you need him), this is the blog for you.

Sections 31 & 32 are all about HD responding to either a real critic (maybe pound or williams or freud) or an internal critic (in the same way she addresses critics who argue that poetry is useless — see section 8 and 10 — HD BLOG 7). This was the wrong time for me to read these two sections (which is basically a list of various ways to read and criticize her project) because i was struggling to finish my manuscript and there are some lines here that i swear she was talking about my poems. it was not fun.

So my questions are, after you read these two sections,

DO YOU FEEL HD DESERVES THESE CRITIQUES (as in, “you find all this”)?
DO ANY OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS APPLY TO YOUR OWN WORK?
DO ANY OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS DESCRIBE THE HD BLOG? (you wont hurt my feelings;)
HOW WOULD YOU ARTICULATE HD’S DEFENSE?

for each comment, i will donate $1 to the “Psychoanalysis for Dogs Foundation.”

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[31]

Wistfulness, exaltation,
a pure core of burning cerebration,

jottings on a margin,
indecipherable palimpsest scribbled over

with too many contradictory emotions,
search for finite definition

of the infinite, stumbling toward
vague cosmic expression,

obvious statement,
folder round a spiritual bank-account,

with credit-loss too starkly indicated,
a riot of unpruned imagination,

jottings of psychic numerical equations,
runes, superstitions, evasions,

invasion of the over-soul into a cup
too brittle, a jar too circumscribed,

a little too porous to contain the out-flowing
of water-about-to-be-changed-to-wine

at the wedding; barren search,
arrogance, over-confidence, pitiful reticence,

boasting, intrusion of strained
inappropriate allusion,

illusion of lost-gods, daemons;
gambler with eternity,

intiate of the secret wisdom,
bride of the kingdom,

reversion of old values,
oneness lost, madness.

[32]

Depth of the sub-conscious spews forth
too many incongruent monsters

and fixed indigestible matter
such as shell, pearl; imagery

done to death; perilous ascent,
ridiculous descent; rhyme, jingle,

overworked assonance, nonsense,
juxtaposition of words for words’ sake,

without meaning, undefined; imposition,
deception, indecisive weather-vane;

disagreeable, inconsequent syllables,
too malleable, too brittle,

over-sensitive, under-definitive,
clash of opposites, fight of emotion

and sterile invention —
you find all this?

conditioned to the discrimination
of the colours of the lunar rainbow

and the outer layers of the feathers
of the butterfly’s antennae,

we were caught up by the tornado
and deposited on no pleasant ground,

but we found the angle of incidence
equals the angle of reflection;

separated from the wandering stars
and the habits of the lordly fixed ones,

we noted that even the erratic burnt-out comet
has its peculiar orbit.

*********************************

– bank account and credit loss is probably a reference to the Great Depression.

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(painting by Carl Bloch)

– the water-into-wine can be found in John chapter 2. (also, this marriage plays a prominent role in Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there.

2 Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage.

3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”

4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”

6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ manner of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece.

7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim.

8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it.

9 When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom,

10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!”

*********************************

– “depth of sub-conscious” is probably a reference to psychoanalysis and Freud. (see photo above).

*********************************

– the angle of incidence is the angle formed by a ray incident on a surface and a perpendicular to the surface at the point of incidence.

– the angle of reflection is the angle formed by a reflected ray and a perpendicular to the surface at the point of reflection.

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9 thoughts on “HD BLOG 29: "You find all this?"

  1. Guess I’ll go first… a couple things I noticed in these stanzas…

    illusion of lost-gods, daemons;
    gambler with eternity,

    intiate of the secret wisdom,
    bride of the kingdom,

    reversion of old values,
    oneness lost, madness.

    These three couplets here seem archaic and almost ominous. I read them as the natural progression of the 20th century, that the illusion of lost-gods and daemons is like the light that slowly empties the darkness. The bride might be referring to Marie Curie as a rare persona in the field of physics and chemistry, and that the new kingdom isn’t in the heavens, but on the chalkboard as a form of abstraction and mathematics.

    The idea that oneness is lost, lost on us perhaps, within the 20th century is interesting. The idea of individuality seems to grow stronger as we move out of the dark ages, into the renaissance, then the reformation enlightenment, industrial revolution etc. As one moves off the farm, from the lord’s land and into the city, the idea that upward mobility is possible and that a self motivated individual can escape certain social constraints, makes the idea of the individual a reality, rather than simply a child unto god, or a parisioner. So this is a bit of reverse engineering perhaps, but oneness gone says to me that whatever the concept of unity might have been, its really pulled apart in the 20th century as natural phenomenon is reclaimed or reappropriated from the trough of ecclesiastical knowledge, and redefined through physics, astronomy, botany and chemistry and engineered into the world’s latest and most potent religion. Madness for the true believers who think that monkeys spawned all mankind and that the sun revolves around the world. Or, from a certain standpoint, madness is the 20th century, the way that Marinetti and his compatriots loved speed and mechanical machines, worshiped smoke stacks and saw the acceleration in the way that society functioned as the bullet to the future, this too is a form of madness that is capture in Zang Tumb Tumb by Tomaso.

    conditioned to the discrimination
    of the colours of the lunar rainbow

    Conditioned to discrimination, could HD be referring to Jim Crowe and the south? Is there a social commentary here that exists on multiple levels? First and foremost there’s the science that seems to be peppering these sections, well Einstein was the subject of rampant discrimination in Germany and his theories, starting in the early 30s, were called Jew Physics. This is what lead to his defecting to New Jersey and his position at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton. So there’s more Einstein here than meets the eye:

    but we found the angle of incidence
    equals the angle of reflection;

    separated from the wandering stars
    and the habits of the lordly fixed ones,

    The moonbow mentioned a few stanzas above is a real occurance and is a rainbow that is caused by moonlight. They are harder to find because of the inherant darkness, but they do happen and are natural phenomenon.

    So all of this focus on light, and this idea of the fixed one and the wandering star. There is a story about Einstein and when one of the aspects of relativity was proved, it happened at the site of a total lunar eclipse and had to do with the way that the corona of the sun could be measured, specifically, the amount of warping due ot gravitational forces. Once the eclipse had passed, calculations had been made and the results phoned into the states, a young student went running through the halls looking for Albert E. She found him, slightly breathless and said to him “professor einstein, you were right, the call came in from Africa, you were right, you were right.” With a twitch of his moustache he looked at her and said “I know.” She said, “but how did you know?” and he replied… “because if I wasn’t then it’d be too bad for god.”

    we noted that even the erratic burnt-out comet
    has its peculiar orbit.

    In 1940 Fred Whipple, an astroyphysicist, discovered that three meteors and another group of 2 were the remnants of a giant comet that burned out and broke apart named Encke. Encke was rougly the size of halebop and is what they might call a civilization killer or something that had it collided with Earth, would surely have rendered all of us stardust, and not in the frank sinatra sense. The original breakup started 12,000 years ago, was partially caused by Jupiters enormous gravitational pull as it circled it as part of its trajectory. The next breakup, and final, when the comet became a group of meteorites, was 1500 years ago and would’ve been seen as a brilliant light in the Pleides. Comets were often thought of as harbingers of doom, things that were unexplained and thus to be feared and probably supernatural. 1500 years ago, in the early days of christianity, such a comet wreaked havoc on the known world, wrapped in the fall of the Roman Empire, the rule of fiefdoms and fuedal empires. 1500 years ago isn’t so far away from today…

    -L

  2. Ok, I don’t really feel like working this morning, probably has to do with getting 8 hours of sleep last night… but certain phrases still bug me and I decided to do a bit more picking and searching:

    The Over-Soul is mentioned in an essay by Ralph Waldo Emmerson:

    “The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common heart, of which all sincere conversation is the worship, to which all right action is submission; that overpowering reality which confutes our tricks and talents, and constrains every one to pass for what he is, and to speak from his character, and not from his tongue, and which evermore tends to pass into our thought and hand, and become wisdom, and virtue, and power, and beauty. We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE.”

    So something else occured to me but this could be very thing, and it has to do with juxtaposition and the two axes that define the temple of Karnak in Egypt. You may have covered this in an earlier post, so I’m kinda a late comer … so the east to west axis defines the sun, and its place in the heavens and the dominion of the gods. The North to South axis represents the Nile and thus the absolute power of the pharoah on Earth. Well it seems to me like there’s a competition here between “a pure core of cerebration” and the “Depth of the sub-concious”. These two distinctions, the concious mind and the unconcious mind seem to go well with the 20th century’s reliance and acceptance of psychotherapy and explorations of the mind in its many states, but at the same time, it illuminates a kind of competition between the science of the waking state and what comes out of the dream…. there’s more there but I can’t seem to articulate it well this morning, I’m going to go work for a bit…

  3. I’m afraid I’m not qualified to comment re HD.

    But I AM qualified to congratulate you on your 100% cotton banner day.

    Congratulations.

  4. eric, not qualified to comment on HD! i’m not qualified to comment on HD! using that photo, you have to comment on HD.

    mephis, thanks for your continued engagement.

    the connection to Curie is interesting…i am imagining these poems now as also a kind of chalkboard for HD to work out her theories.

    this line is worth highlighting:
    “but oneness gone says to me that whatever the concept of unity might have been, its really pulled apart in the 20th century as natural phenomenon is reclaimed or reappropriated from the trough of ecclesiastical knowledge, and redefined through physics, astronomy, botany and chemistry and engineered into the world’s latest and most potent religion.”

    this is a brilliant way to articulate HD’s project, methinks. the Zang Tumb Tumb connection is nice also – how different HD’s project is from the Futurists, as she is deep in the “trough”, so to speak.

    okay, after you tracked down “lunar rainbow”, i am charging you to guest host the next HD post…i will email you the section πŸ˜‰

    so the connection of “light” on those variable levels finally emerges for me through all the almost unbearable abstractions that she sets up in these passages.

    with your connection to einstein and whipple and curie, the effects of science (which i realize i didnt really touch on before) is much more foregrounded…thanks for that!!! and thanks for the comet reference, i just kind of brushed it off as a generic signifier…am getting sloppy in my old age πŸ˜‰

    *

    as far as your other post, no i have not really commented on Karnak at all…but apparently Karnak was being excavated around the same time of writing the poem (ann pointed this out to me).

    so, the connection with the horizontal and vertical axis with the “core of cerebration” and
    the “Depth of the sub-concious” seems like a powerful move.

    *

    i still can’t believe you are so bored at work…i thought it would be quite exciting to be a bartender at the hottest strip club in town…

    peace

  5. I’m with glsinger. Not much to say on HD as we don’t know each other very well, but I did come across your blog via http://findthebuddha.blogspot.com (Sarah Lilius). Congrats on the find paper purchase. Nothing like quality blank pages to stamp the day good.

  6. yes craig, feel free to link to my blog. I’ve already linked to yours!

    thanks,
    alysha

  7. thanks erin and alysha!

    mark, i’ll have my ghost call your ghost and we can coordinate the torment. hey, that’s not a bad title for a poem:

    “coordinating the torment”

    whatdaya think?

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