Thursday, November 30, 2006

More Devin Johnston

The Merrill Chapter of Precipitations

Otto Rank on the double: “The double serves to preserve the ego through a negation of loss.” (Qtd in Johnston 110). Can that elucidate my confusion on H.D. and her use of the double? I don't know that H.D. was trying to preserve the ego though. Maybe, through expansion of self, magnification of the self, the self is somehow preserved, but I don't think it was necessarily about the self. In H.D., it almost seems as though the other is the self and the self is the other, and you find the self through finding the other. She, in all her marginalizations, seems to be more other than other, and to find her self through an actual other would bring her back to some sort of center, away from the margins. The second part of Rank's sentence "a negation of loss" I'm not sure about either. In H.D., the double seems to always signify loss because the double is never retained... Maybe Otto Rank cannot help me with H.D.

But another cool poetics: “Imagination…does not move in one direction but is reciprocal” (116). Johnston is discussing the two voices (DJ &JM) in Changing Light of Sandover here but this poetics could also refer to Poetry/Muse etc. I feed and pull on it and it feeds/pulls on me.

“In Yeats’ experience, the spirits who dictated through his wife announced that they did not bring a system of philosophy to be explicated in lifelong study but ‘metaphors for your poetry’” (122). Poetry as more important than any logical system!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Devin Johnston on Spicer

A poetics in which “a poem can productively violate intention.” –Spicer

I think intention can violate poetry!

“suddenly there comes a poem which you just hate and would like to get rid of that says just exactly the opposite of what you mean, of what you have to say. You want to say something about your beloved’s eyebrows and the poem says the eyes should fall out. And you don’t really want the eyes to fall out. Or you’re trying to write a poem about Vietnam and you write a poem about Vermont. These things, again, begin to show you just exactly where the road to dictation leads.” (Spicer qtd in Johnston 97).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More from Devin Johnston's Precipitations

From the chapter on Robert Duncan, where he talks about Duncan's idea of poetry as dictation: “Poetry then is a participation, in a beauty that we discover in certain passages that becomes ours, drawing us into Correspondence.” (Duncan qtd in Johnston 50). A nice poetics.

While reading this chapter called "Sublime Undoing," I realized I totally am influenced by, if not subconsciously, then just synchronistically, with Duncan. I have not read him as much as H.D., but I think that I agree with him on the source of poetry: “the poem originates from...a source that is beyond the poets’ understanding.”

Johnston also states that Duncan, in Fictive Certainities, says that Whitman’s paradigm is not of an eternal form, but of an “ever flowing, ever self-creative ground of a process…[T]he evolution of a creative intention that moves not toward the satisfaction of some prescribed form but towards the fullfillment of a multitude of possibilities out of its seed.” (qtd in Johnston 87). This theory of writing seems to be so right-on for me. Poetry as possibility not objectivity.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Reading Devin Johnston’s Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice

“the very liberation H.D. identifies with occultic thought radiates disaster triumphant.”

"In her sessions with Freud, H.D. was concerned with rescuing her vision as central to a vatic sense of poetic identity."

“Wistfulness, exaltation,
a pure core of burning celebration,

Jottings on a margin,
indecipherable palimpsest scribbled over

with too many contradictory emotions,
search for finite definition

of the infinite, stumbling toward
vague cosmic expression” (Walls Do Not Fall, 42)

He seems to be saying that the most mystical, spiritual times only come in the times of absolute devastation, maybe they come then only because they have to, one needs them to survive it – so for those chasing spirituality, they sometimes seek out devastation in order to attain mystical experiences. I don't know that H.D. actually did this, but maybe after the first vision at Corfu, which seems to me a very organic, and healing experience, and appropriate to the time, her later weird experiences with channeling RAF guys, were an attempt to regain that lost experience, which was very unifying for her. But they seem to be less organic, and more forced, sometimes the visionary only happens at one time in one's life, it is a way of moving past the devastation, but one shouldn't become attached to it. If you are not having visions, maybe your life is going ok. I also feel a sense that at the vision at Corfu, maybe there was an acceptance of the misery of life, and that sortof made her unified. But the later desperation perhaps did not come from a place of acceptance, and so it all became sortof weird.

Maybe my life is not going OK, right now, I have had two vision-esque experiences recently at the yoga studio. Have been feeling very unhappy, and realizing I have to let go of dreaming, thinking I do need to, but not sure I quite can. How to deal with reality as it is, the misery of it? One vision was of a gargoyle shadow on the ceiling, felt scared and thought what a horrible sign! But then I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights later, with a weird epiphany thought, that it was not a gargoyle, but a good spirit protecting me, an owl perhaps. Owls and gargoyles have very similar shadows!

Then yesterday, Thanksgiving, I had another vision; the walls (which do not fall) at the yoga studio have strange markings on them, like abstract cave art, so I was looking at the wall upside down in standing fold reverse namaste pose and I saw a cow in the markings. I was so mesmerized by her I didn't follow along with the class for a bit, she seemed very gentle, and peaceful, and filled with grace, a thanksgiving blessing! Cows are very connected with Hinduism, so that is a nice symbol to get from yoga class... a sense of hope, but that may only be because I am feeling so bad! There is nowhere to go but up. But a feeling also that this time is a hinge, a meeting point between when the bad times turn toward good. I am a hopeless optimist.

I am Mary, she said, Of Magdala,
I am Mary, a great tower;

through my will and my power,
Mary shall be myrrh;

I am Mary -- O, there are Marys a-plenty,
(though I am Mara, bitter) I shall be Mary-myrrh" (Trilogy FOTR 135)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Get your free books over here:

Livejournal is down and it is rather freaking me out.

I have things to say. I don't know really what. But I have a feeling like I have to say things and no one will let me.

There are some new poems of mine here.