"Poetry: Serious. Not That Serious." by Lucy Hitz

Poetry: Serious. Not That Serious.

18 October 2012 on Blog, Poetry: Serious. Not That Serious.   Tags:



I've been reading Lyn Hejinian's My Life , “at once a poetic autobiography, a personal narrative, a woman's fiction, and an ongoing dialogue with the poet and her experience,” according to the back cover. My Life follows Hejinian's theory of the open text, which she defines as  “open to the world and particularly to the reader”¦.[It] invites participation, rejects the authority of the writer over the reader and thus, by analogy, the authority implicit in other (social, economic, cultural) hierarchies." Basically, the meaning of Hejinian's writing is not strictly defined—the reader generates his or her own meaning based on his or her own perspective. Think of it as interactive poetry. With this idea in mind, I have picked ten images (by Google image-ing the section titles from MY LIFE and choosing the most personally compelling pictures) and used lines from My Life as an interpretation of/complement to the images. What's your take?

Anxiety is vigilant. Perhaps initially, even before one can talk, restlessness is already conventional, establishing the incoherent border which will later separate events from experience.
--From A pause, a rose, something on paper

The portrait, a photograph, had been made so that my grandmother was looking just over the head of the observer, into a little distance, not so far as to be a space into which she might seem to be staring, but at some definite object, some noun, just behind one.
--From What is the meaning hung from that depend

The man with the pinto pony had come through the neighborhood selling rides for a quarter, or as he said, “two bits,” and it was that “two bits” even more than the pony that led the children to believe he was a real cowboy and therefore heroic.
--From The obvious analogy is with music

On my mother's side, a matriarchy. I wanted to be a brave child, a girl with guts. And how one goes about educating that would-be audience may very likely determine the history of that moment, its direction, the qualities that become emphatic and characteristic of its later influence. As if by scratching at the paper one could dig out the names. Things bound in their cases plunge and erupt. Now when I build something, for example, the job does not seem beautifully done until all the tools have been properly put away. Sadness and thirst, and hence sadness and water, have ever since been associated in my imagination. --From The inevitable sentiment is a preliminary

We were like plump birds along the shore, caught by the mortal breaks. Dimension, longevity, color and pleasure. So that if I tell you my intentions, I force myself to maintain those intentions. --From What memory is not a “gripping” thought

Was she taking herself seriously or taking herself too seriously. Take as straight lines the chords of the bounding circle. Dark parties. One would not read the book unless one already understood it. Running with a herd of deer, then feeling scattered. No matter where we go for our walk, we always end up by the creek. —From At the time the perpetual Latin of love kept things hidden.

A man is tall, a mountain is high, the sky's the limit. The spare was flat. The filled valleys made shorter hills which we crested on snow shoes on snow over fences. It seemed that we had hardly begun and we were already there. Personal, oblige, running down. At the time, I saw my life as a struggle against my personality. She was trapped in the elevator panting in plenty of air. Wounded by gossip's rat-a-tattle. --From She showed the left profile, the good one

I thought that for a woman health and comfort must come after love. Any photographer will tell you the same. So I wouldn't wear boots in the snow, nor socks in the cold. Shufflers scuff. That sense of responsibility was merely the context of the search for a lover, or, rather, for a love. Let someone from the other lane in. Each boat leaned toward us as it turned and we, pretending to know more than we did, identified each class as it was blown by. Politics get wider as one gets older. I was learning a certain geometry of purely decorative shapes. One could base a model for form on a crystal or the lungs. She showed the left profile, the good one. What she felt, she had heard as a girl. The point of the foghorns is that you can't see them, need to hear them. More by hive than by heart the mathematics of droves makes it noticeable. It was May, 1958 and reading was anti-anonymous. She disapproved of background music. —-From It was only a coincidence

I am a shard, signifying isolation—here I am thinking aloud of my affinity for the separate fragment taken under scrutiny. Yet that was only a coincidence. The penny disk, the rarer dollar disk. Her hair is the color of a brass bedstead. We were proud of our expertise, distinguishing the ripe ears of corn from the green, speaking knowledgeably of tassles and the breeds of corn: Butter & Sugar, Country Gentleman, Honey & Cream, Silver Queen. The old dirt road, broken into clods and gullies, or clods and ruts, over which I was walking under some noisy trees, had been reversed in the dark. And so I was returning. For such words present residences on a brown ground. --From Such displacements alter illusions, which is all-to-the-good

Whereas the cheerful pessimist suits himself in a bad world, which is however the inevitable world, impossible of improvement. I close one eye, always the left, when looking out onto the glare of the street. What education finally serves us, if at all. There is a pause, a rose, something on paper. The small green shadows make the red jump out. That is not a telescope, nor do I have stars in my belly. —-From The coffee drinkers answered ecstatically


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