Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"...content is always content for some entity.  Normally we do not notice this in our own lives, since we take ourselves for granted and assume that merely by opening our eyes we see everything exactly as it is.  We are normally unaware of the contortions imposed on the things by our own limitations and even our own gifts.  For this reason, we do not usually experience the tension between ourselves and our experiences, any more than we usually notice the tension between an apple and its real or sensual qualities.  For this to happen, we need to endure a breakdown of the usual situation in which perceptions and meanings simply lie before us as obvious facts, or in which we stalk through life in quasi-robotic union with the empty words we utter and the learned habitual gestures that have come to seem like natural extensions of ourselves."

--Graham Harman, Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy (258)

Philosophy and poetics combine in the above passage in ways that are of deep interest to me.  Poetry writing at its best is very often a deep disordering of the "usual situation in which perceptions and meanings lie before us as obvious facts."  That Rimbaud called for a disordering of the senses, that Coolidge, Mac Low and Cage embraced aleatory methods, that Charles Bernstein and so many other innovative writers have engaged in homophonic translations, only serves to underscore the point.

The real is never well-served by paraphrase.  The real is always being reinvented.

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