Curious resemblance between my expressed motives for doing long poems (see previous post) and Josh's comments on Claudia Rankine. But the methods are so different. There are a lot of poets who use collage and documentary material - it sounds like Rankine does so pretty effectively (I've only read an excerpt at one of the links Josh provides). I did some collage in the In RI poem. Less so in Stubborn Grew & sequels (there, anyway, it's hidden, melded with the quatrains).

The problem for me with Pound's "rag-bag" methods, and their recent extensions into "multimedia", is that the form of the poetry tends to get sort of distended and slack. That's how it comes across for me, anyway. It slides into prose & other forms of communication. For some, this is exciting.

I like the otherness of poetic speech, the strangeness which comes with versification, rhyme, lineation. I guess it is most effective when it oscillates back and forth over the border with prose & everyday vernacular.

The otherness creates a sort of magic circle around the language, accentuates the formal impression and makes for intensity.

I feel this "poetry magic" is inseparable from the vocational path of poets, which I sort of sketched in previous post yesterday. Every new generation, every new poem, erases the past, blocks it out of our attention to some extent. At the same time, every new generation has the capability - various capabilities - to respond to and re-create what was done before.

Why is this important? Well, on one level, it's simply natural. There's a natural fascination in the reading of ancient texts, or the hearing of ancient poems, which still work. The process creates living bonds with what is normative and profound in experience - precisely through the "poetic" process of discovering analogies or resemblances between distant and different things. The plays of Shakespeare or Sophocles come in strange and archaic costume, yet we find ourselves caught up in the crises they present.

I guess this is a sort of prosaic version of one aspect of Mandelshtam's Acmeism. Poetry the vital remnant, a link across time and eras.

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