Another bit from the comment stream over at Harriet. This one sent to Christian Bok's recent entry ("Late Past the Post").

"R.S. Crane's re-presentation of Aristotle argues that the 20th-cent. critical focus on poem-as-linguistic-discourse is misplaced. Christian Bok's emphasis, on the poem as linguistic research and language game, seems to be an example of that focus carried to a logical conclusion.

I am suggesting, to the contrary, that the language of the poem is always the shadow or carapace of a larger, unspoken (because literally unspeakable) aesthetic form or impression - something like the conceptual/affective impression harbored by people returning home from the theater. We receive a similar impression, an image of completeness, from lyric poems, albeit on a smaller scale. The lasting effect of the work of art is not simply the experimental result of the language per se, but is an effect of this unspoken gesture - toward or away from meaning, toward or away from feeling, toward or away from the reader in person.

It seems to me that poetic language, curiously, makes an inward turn toward this state of muteness or mime (mimesis), toward the inexplicable - and this turning itself is what radiates poetry's uncanny magnetism."

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