The I that is still I arises

but not (I)n every poem

there are poems that arise around (I)t (I)nstead...

I have felt for years that there are some poems (Williams, Hughes, Bogan, Rich, Cavafy), films (Bergman, Capra) and works of art (Judd) and music (Davis, Dylan), that want to be contemplated, and some poems (Whitman, Brooks, Millay, Elytis), films (Fellini, Tarkovsky), and works of art (Rauschenberg) and music (Coltrane, Joplin) that want to be inhabited.

This distinction has something to do with Nietzsche's Apollonian and Dionysian, and with the dualism of Classic and Romantic, but doesn't match up with it exactly, because sometimes the Romanticist wants to be contemplated, the better to burn against a neutral background, and sometimes the Classicist wants to be inhabited, the better to inflict every subtle harmony on the perceptions.

The distinction also has something to do with Lavinia and my conversation about the "I."

The (I) must arise before it can burn.  And the I must be subsumed into a larger k(I)nd of making before it can transcend the burning.

We've known the first of these facts for a while, but the second is just reemerging into consciousness.

Epic is coming back; I'll write about mine in the next post.




Originally Published: April 25th, 2012

Annie Finch is the author or editor of more than twenty books of poetry, plays, translation, literary essays, textbooks, and anthologies, including the poetry collections Eve (1997), Calendars (2003), and Spells: New and Selected Poems (2012), and the long poems The Encyclopedia of Scotland (1982) and Among the Goddesses: An Epic...