Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I mean something to say or embody.


Blogger Steven Moore said...


9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, not heart.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, Steven, I'm not sure if that's what I mean. What do you mean by "heart"?

I would say that heart (something like openness and sincerity?) is necessary to finding this thing. But I'm talking about something more conceptual and felt at the same time, if that makes sense.

More soon. Company at the door.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Steven Moore said...

The heart of the matter - centre, core. The beating heart - life. The open heart - courage. The loving heart - connexion. The consuming heart - creation. Heart & mind together - endures.

I do know what you mean. I would just argue that it is your heart connecting to the heart of whatever that stimulates the creative process. To feel you must become, the same as I have to become to read your work. Our three hearts throb together. The poem is the third heart. It is my channel to you. Heart-to-heart. Your work drips with heart and love, otherwise I wouldn't be bothered. Life's too short.

"Company at the door", says it all.
Having said that the oil man's here so I'll have to go.

Keep throbbing.

4:46 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I think I get what you’re saying, Steven, and you’re right. I have to say though, and perhaps this is unfair of me, I’m suspicious of heart metaphors, mostly because I’ve seen them used (not to imply that you are doing so) to avoid discrimination in thinking. A few years ago an experience I had in a group of “mainstream” (please excuse the shorthand) writers confirmed my suspicion that, for the most part, the anecdotal lyric crowd in Canada is at something of a dead end. One of the mentors of this group, in a discussion about the appropriation of minority voice in fiction, responded, “Come on, the heart knows no race,” which, to my horror, ended the discussion in near-unanimous assent. (It was the fact that he used this metaphor to stifle a relatively rigorous discussion that acknowledged the complexity of the issue, and also the fact that most people took the bait, that disturbed me.) I had already noticed that a lot of lyric poetry hides sloppy thinking behind effusive figurative language, but this experience showed me a political dimension to a similar use. It made me suspect that this sort of use of language is frequently, at best, an excuse for complacency and, at worst, an evasive tactic. This is part of what drove me to write the way I do.

To be fair, though, this is likely a somewhat irrational problem I have with the word, and my response is a bit of a knee-jerk and probably beside the point. I think your comment purposely eschews discrimination in its thinking (i.e., it points toward something beyond rational thought through its enumeration of overlapping--though not entirely overlapping--meanings). This is something I’m sympathetic to, and I think what you’re talking about is key to a lot of works of art.

What I guess I’m talking about though is a poetics in which the poet is actually invested (and this might involve some thinking along the lines of “why this poetics” on his or her part). It might come down to something as simple as this: I read a fair number of books that make me think the poet just felt the need to get a book out.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Steven Moore said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly. Most people who use the word heart don't know what the fuck they're on about. If they ever encounter real heart its vitality would strike them dead, or alive, whichever is furthest from their present state. I understand your need for rigour, especially rigour of thought, I just think that need comes from a deep suspicion (connexion) inside you to something real & essential. That something I call heart, for want of a better word, & has no complacency or compromise attached to it. It is dangerous & explosive & all too ready to shatter illusions. Poets, the good ones, touch it all the time. Unfortunately, in my experience, they still live safe lives, despite their claims to the contrary, which is why I only read them. I prefer the company of people whose commitment to heart runs through everything they do.

10:18 AM  

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