My poetics – introduction
By poetics I don’t mean the Aristotelian tradition of seeking laws and principles for literature, more the whole rich, varied phenomena of poetry. I see poems are tools for maximising cognitive opportunities, which enrich human lives and culture. Poems are more than boxes of metaphor; poems are processes, which energise people, performances, and memories – over time. The poem is ‘scaffolding’, an opportunity for both creator and listener/reader to use language to think and feel.
My PhD thesis ‘A New Defence of Poetry’ updated Sir Philip Sidney’s and Shelley’s defences and was well received: “This is an extraordinary thesis . . . The total effect is undoubtedly an original contribution to the understanding of the role poetry might play in the contemporary world. [His poems] in their range of reference, and their mixture of personal, historical and natural perspectives, act as a really interesting companion to the accumulation of scholarly references in the other parts of the thesis. They are also excellent poems.” Dr Ivor Indyk.
A writer has to use the imagination and can invent realities. Coleridge had never been to sea, had only ever once crossed the Bristol Channel on the ferry to Chepstow.
Wordsworth began his finest poem, Tintern Abbey, in the ruin’s vicinity, and then refined it over two or more days prior to writing a fair copy on July 13th 1789, as he approached Bristol. He had walked across Salisbury plain west to the Wye Valley, hardly eating for three days, which can disorientate and be soporific. There is such a thing as the physiology of the poetic.
Alexander Nehamas is frustrated by ‘the failure’ of our imagination: ‘We don’t realize that most everything is contingent, that things could be different.’
‘I hear my poetry as a sort of music, though I don’t think of it as music. I think of it as language.’ Raworth
I read his poetry and that of Andrei Voznesensky . . .
Just as important as stories are our underlying images, metaphors and practices . . .
We have surrendered our handwriting for something more mechanical, less distinctively human . . .
Thanks John for the wonderful workshop. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it . . .
I talked about getting down and dirty.
Creativity is a common catch-phrase and not just in the world of arts and letters. We all want to be creative, our politicians want the country to become creative . . . poem