Friday, March 30, 2012

Poetry is where we attend to the mechanics of language

"Poetry is self-conscious language, words that refer to themselves. Reading a poem, one is supposed to be conscious of the materiality of the poem--the fact that it is made of words that shift every time they are read or spoken; words are like boxes that are packed and repacked with associations. One should never quite lose oneself in a poem the way one does in a great movie or novel. One is always participating in poetry by being conscious of how one's own past affects how one defines the words. Poetry is about words and what they refer to second; it's about the phenomenon of referring, the mechanics of words. And this isn't just some mental exercise--it's a deep emotional one. All that allows people to feel less alone, less trapped in the prison of their own incommunicable perceptions, is language, whether verbal or visual or tactile. Poetry is where we attend to the mechanics of language, hence poetry is all and always about loneliness, about the extent to which one is more or less alone because one's words do or don't carry one's perceptions across the divide between self and others.

Prose is very different...In a description of a house, you are meant to imagine a house rather than attend to the words used to describe it."

From an interview with Craig Morgan Teicher over at HTML Giant.

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