The job of a poem

One of the jobs of a poem, as I see it, is to disorient you so that your perceptions are shaken up so that you can become receptive to new perception. For that reason, I will sometimes break the syntax of a sentence from one line to the next or even within a line so that ideas are juxtaposed rather brutally and maybe even incoherently.

I recall professor McLuhan whose insightful and ad hoc lectures on the Irish poets delighted me; he used to think as he lectured — a rarity at university, I assure you — often changing his mind in mid-thought. [This was before he became famous in the early sixties, later appearing in one of Woody Allen’s movies (was it Annie Hall?) to put down a pompous ass in a movie line.] One of McLuhan’s points was that the objective correlative (famously defined in Eliot’s essay on Hamlet) was a modern method of juxtapostiion for creating a symblein (this from memory; I hope I have spelled it correctly), an object whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And here we enter the realm of gestalt, which appeals to me, as I am a gestalt learner, and I suppose, a gestalt-based writer.

I shall probably have to return to this mish-mash to put some sense into it. And that is the beauty of calling this whole thing wordcurrents.

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