Thursday, September 07, 2006

flaneur



There's an awful lot of poetry. I try to read some of it. The window is narrow, letting in a narrow beam of light. Much leaves me cold, puzzled: in incomprehension. This is not a disappointment. It can sometimes be as if one is witness to remnants: someone has gone out to buy canvas, paint, brushes, thinner and brush cleaner, with a determination to paint a memorable scene, then, when the times comes to cover the canvas, the imagination and skill have evaporated.

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I have read about Rilke and stood besides his statue at the Hotel Reina Victora in Ronda on an unforgettable, bright autumn day, trying to persuade myself - seemingly imperative because he was a renowned poet - I might understand and appreciate his poetry. An example of his ouvre popped out of the web the day other but left me cold. I knew the territory but could not identify the cities and towns and mountains; I recognised the the keywords. My brain filled in the gaps with my own words, but that is not a poem by Rilke.

I had the overwhelming urge to bring him back, sit him down and say: "Now write it another way. He might insist - was he that difficult a man? - those were his words and must be taken or left.

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This comes from personal experience: skylarks, a church spire wind-turbines in the mist on Blood Hill, caused me to think out a short piece of verse. Back home a few hours later it had all gone except keywords then hurriedly written down on numbered lines where they might possibly fit. No matter how hard I try, when coming across these disjecta membra, sufficient and appropriate words to fill in the gaps never come or are anything as good as the ones I know I mumbled on a beach 15 or more years ago. When I think then of that spot as experienced, the sensation of the pleasure of realisation, recognition, conjunctions, knowledge are still there but not the words.

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A commonplace: most poems come out ready made. The person who knows this keeps a pen and paper at the bedside.

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It is said - a late lesson for me - understanding poetry is not neccesarily the first essential. Perhaps being impressed by it might be a safer route. Poets often put down words -- many of us do it; we all do it once or twice -- in a stream, then spend an eternity paring and paring the adjectives.


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That appealing idea of poetry being like a good index to an book.

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Flaneur by Mark Scroggins. Is it good or is it bad? I have no idea. I liked the title because I had been introduced to the term flaneur on a previous occasion and been mildly intrigued. Wiki:flaneur
Review (short): James V. Werner. American Flaneur: The Cosmic Physiognomy of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Modernity and the flaneur academic notes


Check out the site. I came across this by Edmund Hardy, Aristotles' Styles: On Memory, which felt as if it might help me.


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It is my duty to know what I don't know, in the hope it will increase my knowledge. Flaneur the poem and flaneur the term came my way in desperate attempt to 'speed date' the literary theorists. Things have got behind.



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