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Poetry as possibility Macfarlane, Walter Julian 1971

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POETRY' AS" POSSIBILITY' by WALTER JULIAN MACFARLANE BiA.., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1 9 6 8 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL" FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts i n the Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1 9 7 1 In presenting th i s thes is in pa r t i a l fu l f i lment o f the requirements for an advanced degree at the Un ivers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make i t f ree l y ava i l ab le for reference and study. I fur ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th i s thes i s fo r scho lar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representat ives. It is understood that copying or pub l i ca t ion of th i s thes i s f o r f i nanc ia l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permission. Department The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date ABSTRACT T--is t h e s i s e x p l o r e s the concept of p o s s i b i l i t y i n terms of an a e s t h e t i c t h e o r y a p p l i c a b l e t o p o e t r y . The concept i s w i d e l y used i n d i f f e r e n t ways by d i f f e r e n t w r i t e r s , but seldom d e a l t w i t h a n a l y t i c a l l y as i s the i n -t e n t i o n h e r e . Chapter I d e a l s f i r s t w i t h the e m p i r i c a l c o n c o m i t a n t s c f the con c e p t and t h e i r r e l a t i o n to n o t i o n s o f c o n v e n t i o n and s t y l i s t i c t r a n s g r e s s i o n i n p o e t r y . The argument t h e n , p r o c e e d s t o examine t h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l r a m i f i c a t i o n s of t h e s e r e l a t i o n s i n terms of Whitehead's v i e w s on a e s t h e t i c i n t e -g r a t i o n s . I n s u b s t a n t i a t i n g t h e s e v i e w s c n t o l o g i c a l l y , a t h e o r y of p o e t r y as a form of c o n t e m p l a t i v e thought e-merges. Chapter I I d e f i n e s the o n t o l o g i c a l grounds o f p o e t i c p o s s i b i l i t y i n a more r i e o r o u s manner u t i l i z i n g d i s t i n c t i o n s b a s i c t o both the p h i l o s o p h y of M a r t i n Heidegger and the t h e o r i e s o f the s o - c a l l e d " s t r u c t u r a l i s t " s c h o o l . The r e l a t i o n s h i p of p o e t r y to " n a t u r e " and " c u l t u r e " i s of parrnount i m p o r t a n c e i n the s e s p e c u l a t i o n s , and i s - d e f i n e d i n such a way as t o r e c o n c i l e p r o c e s s a l and s t r u c t u r a l d e f i n i t i o n s c f the p o e t i c e x p e r i e n c e . The c h a p t e r r e s o l v e s by r e l a t i n g the o n t c l o g i o a l ground o f p o e t i c p o s s i b i l i t y to n o t i o n s o f metaphor and a m b i g u i t y developed i n the w r i t i n g s cp W a l l a c e Stevens and o t h e r s . Chapter I I I e x p l o r e s the n o t i o n of p o e t i c a m b i g u i t y f u r t h e r i n terms of a t h e o r y o f i m a g i n a t i o n which draws upon the t h e o r i e s of S t e v e n s , C o l e r i d g e , and H e i d e g g e r . The l i n g u i s t i c consequences of t h i s t h e o r y o f i m a g i n a t i o n a r e d i s c u s s e d i n terras of a p r a c t i c a l d e m o n s t r a t i o n , an e x p l i c a t i o n of W i l l i a m C a r l o s Williams' " N a n t u c k e t " . I n t h i s way, the argument e s t a b l i s h e s the metalinguistic grounds f o r d e f i n i n g and a n a l y z i n g p o e t r y . The c h a p t e r c o n c l u d e s , r e l a t i n g the m e t a l i n g u i s t i c grounds of p o e t r y , as d e f i n e d , to the n o t i o n o f pontic p o s s i b i l i t y p r e v i o u s l y d e v e l o p e d . TABLE C? CONTENTS Page no. CHAPTER I POETRY AND BEING 1 I P o e t r y as B e h a v i o r 1 I I P o e t i c D e v i a t i o n h I I I The N e c e s s i t y of C o n v e n t i o n and t h e Language o f R e a l i t y 10 IV P o e t r y as a Demonology 17 V I n t e g r a t i o n and the Pr o b l e m of T r u t h and Beauty 22 V I P o e t r y and t h e P o e t ' s World 26 V I I P o e t r y as On t o l o g y 3 0 V I I I P o e t r y as Fundamental Thought = 3 5 IX P o e t r y , Thought and F e e l i n g , and A u t h e n t i c i t y 3 8 X P o e t r y and C o n t e m p l a t i o n U-2 CHAPTER I I POETRY AS WORLD AND EARTH ho I The P r o b l e m of N a t u r e and C u l t u r e : H e i d e g g e r ' s Temple +9 I I The " R i s s " 55 I I I H e i d e g g e r , O l s o n , and the "Open" 61 IV P o e t r y as a " P h y s i s " 69 V Language and the "World"' 72 V I P o e t r y as H i s t o r y and S t r u c t u r e 77 V I I On P o e t i c Meaning 8*+ V I I I P o e t r y and I n s t r u m e n t a l C o n c e p t i o n 86 I X Van Gogh's Pe a s a n t Shoes 8 9 X Resemblance, A m b i g u i t y , and the " R i s s " 93 CHAPTER I I I WILLIAMS' "NANTUCKET A?v) ^ HE ART 0 ? AMBIGUITY 1 0 0 I Some Notes on the Concept of A m b i g u i t y 1 0 1 I I S t y l i s t i c T r a n s g r e s s i o n and O r d i n a r y Language 1 0 5 I I I I m a g i n a t i o n and D e c r e a t i c n l l h IV W i l l i a m s ' "Nantucket"' and i t s T r a d i t i o n 1 2 0 V The New R e a l i t y of "Nantucket"' 1 2 7 V I The L y r i c a l A m b i g u i t y of " N a n t u c k e t " 1 3 6 V I I Some L i n g u i s t i c Concepts 1 3 9 V I I I A C o n c l u s i o n lh2 BIBLIOGRAPHY 3.1+5 -1 .CHAPTER I POETRY AND BEING What i s poetry?" In this essay I seek a d e f i n i t i o n of poetry, r e a l i z i n g alv/ays that any d e f i n i t i o n that can be stated i n a single sentence or even a single book i s l i k e l y to be of limited use. The attempt at d e f i n i t i o n i s , however, what i s important i n a poetic. Insofar as the attempt i s productive of some degree of understanding, and insofar as that understanding evolves, a d e f i n i t i o n of poetry evolves. Thus, this essai speculatively seeks an evolution of meaning pertinent to a d e f i n i t i o n success-f u l not so much as i t i s complete, but to the degree that i t makes poetry more accessible to a c r i t i c a l appreciation of i t s problematic nature. I Poetry As Behavior Certain d i f f i c u l t i e s present themselves immediately i n devising a poetic theory productive of any kind of use-f u l understanding of poetry. There i s evidence to suggest that i t i s impossible to devise a poetic theory which w i l l encompass poetry per se: that i s to say, poetry as a category of objects separate i n a p o s i t i v i s t i c and empirical sense from our human experience of them.- Peckham1 suggests that 1 Morse Peckham, Man's Rage for Chaosr Biology. Behavior and the Arts (New Ybrkr Schocken Books, 1967), pp. 1+8-50. -2-a l l forms of a r t , including poetry, are "'disjunctive categories 1""whose component members do not share the same defining attributes.- In. other words, a poem i s not a poem because i t i s characterized by attributes possessed by poems i n general, but because someone places the poem in the category of poetry i r r e s p e c t i v e of i t s phenomenal character. How, for instance, can I d i s t i n g u i s h a con-crete poem from simple graphic art?" I f I hang a concrete poem in an art g a l l e r y many viewers would categorize i t with v i s u a l art forms. Likewise, ^found poems'"" are frag-ments of written discourse of any kind u n t i l read aloud at a poetry reading or designated as poetry i n some sim-i l a r way. If I am not told that free verse i s poetry how do I know i t i s not pros^e-'when read aloud,?1 Peckham argues persuasively that poems have l i t t l e i n common except their s ocially-derived designatum. The immediate d i f f i c u l t y i n devising a poetic would seem to be that I must ta l k about the poetic experience as a behavioral event i f X am to talk t h e o r e t i c a l l y about poetry at a l l . . Now, whatever the v a l i d i t y of Peckham's argument, i t i s not mandatory for me to t a l k about poetry as a purely anthropological event;: i t i s s t i l l ; p o s s i b l e to devise a poetic with a measure of aesthetic a p p l i c a b i l i t y . The p o s i t i v i s t i c and empirical approach provides me with only the preliminaries of poetic understanding. Moreover, i t i s not perhaps necessary to separate poetry as an a r t i f a c t - 3 -from poetry as a p a r t i c u l a r form of experience i f I take a s u b j e c t i v i s t point-of-view and regard the two concepts ass-co-extensive within the human consciousness. Peckham*s generalizations on the "New Cr i t i c s " " notwithstandingl, few c r i t i c a l theories attempt to deal with poetry per se. I do not need to discard free verse, concrete poetry, or even "found poetry"'2 as poetic forms to preserve the i n -t r i n s i c autonomy and value of an a r t object .as an art object. It i s obvious that i f man attributes unique q u a l i t i e s and values to an object as he seems to do i n the act of a r t i s t i c categorization, t h i s act of a t t r i -bution i s dependent upon the p a r t i c u l a r structure of that a r t i f a c t . If I display an ice-cube at a poetry reading and c a l l i t a poem, my categorization w i l l not be accepted on a l i t e r a l basis—whatever my c r i t i c a l r e p u t a t i o n — simply because an ice-cube does not have the appropriate structure within the terms of that consensus of opinion which i s aesthetic theory. An ice-cube does not have the verbal structure which seems to be expected universally of poetry. S i m i l a r l y , the amount of l i t e r a l meaning which we can a t t r i b u t e to a haiku can never be as great as the amount of l i t e r a l meaning which we can attribute to Paradise Eost, i f only because Paradise Losjk i s i n f i n i t e l y more complex i n terms of semantic variables. While poetry 1 Peckham, pp. 125*129. 2 However much one might want to discard i t . may have no general defining attributes of its- own, and no unique q u a l i t i e s which can function as s u f f i c i e n t c r i t e r i a i n themselves, i t s i n d i v i d u a l structures must s t i l l be consonant at a given time with the fi x e d , i f sometimes inconsistent conventions of c u l t u r a l behavior. Ultimately, as I w i l l indicate i n more d e t a i l l a t e r , the poem i s not i n any philosophical sense just an aspect of culture. The poetic c r i t i c must address himself to analysis and evaluation of both the poem as an empirical object, and the subjective conventions which influence our perception of the poem as though both subjects taken together formed a s i g n i f i c a n t , and s t r i c t l y aesthetic holism. Accordingly, the poetic experience i s most im-portant here rather than the ppem-as-object or the poem-as-behavior. The l a t t e r are is o l a t a b l e and quasi-s c i e n t i f i c constructs which are l o g i c a l l y very manageable, but l i m i t e d . II Poetic Deviation To question the nature of poetry therefore i s to question the nature of the poetic experience. And to deal with that question i t i s necessary to examine a pa r t i c u l a r instance of poetic experience. Consider the following poem by bp Nichol, B l u e s 1 1 e o e love o evol love o evol e o e 1 Str u c t u r a l l y , the poem runs contrary to most of the rules of ordinary written discourse;; i t does not adhere to ac-cepted conventions of s p e l l i n g , punctuation, grammar, and perhaps even l i t e r a l sense. Yet this poem jis called a poem, and included i n an anthology designed to introduce university students to the best of contemporary poetry. Peckham 2 would probably note that the reader could e a s i l y mistake the poem f o r a typing exercise but for the fac t that the poem has been designated a poem. In t h i s case, the actual placement of the poem i n an anthology does make a considerable difference to the readerts:-perceptiiEjn of: it«as a poem:" i t i s h i s cue to begin playing the role of "poetry-perceiver"^ and to attempt to attr i b u t e c u l -turally-determined "poetic qualities'" to the poem. I f the structure of the poem i s not consonant with those q u a l i t i e s which he seeks to at t r i b u t e , then the reader may be inclined to dismiss the poem as a "bad'""poem or even a "pseudo"" poem.. Likewise, i f the structure of the poem i s consonant 1 bp Nichol, "Blues", Twentieth Century Poetry and  Poetics, ed. G. Geddes (Toronto:: Oxford University Press, 1 9 6 9 ) , p. ^ 1 ^ . 2 See Peckham, pp. 5 9 - 7 3 . 3 Ibid - 6 -with those q u a l i t i e s which he seeks to at t r i b u t e , the reader can say that the poem i s a "good ! r poem. Role-playing therefore i s a major factor i n determining the way i n which one orients oneself to the appreciation, analysis, and evaluation of the poem. Of course, r o l e -behavior i s a major way of expediting and l i m i t i n g any act of perception, aesthetic or otherwise. What i s im-portant here i s that the poetry-perceiver's role may be structured to r e a l i z e to a greater or les s e r extent the p o s s i b i l i t y for perception which the poe$ embodies, and the resultant o v e r a l l value of the a r t i s t i c experience possible i n that s i t u a t i o n . The primary convention governing usual response to poetry i s afte r a l l that a good poem should be o r i g i n a l ; that i s to say, d i f f e r e n t i n some way from a l l other poems. Since a poem cannot be both o r i g i n a l and predictable i n terms of conventionally-determined expectation, the prime condition of the poetic experience i s that the poem should not permit the poetry-perceiver to respond i n an e n t i r e l y pre-determined manner. The conventional responses deter-mined by role and the normative expectations of the reader must always be more or less blind to the p o s s i b i l i t i e s predicated by the o r i g i n a l i t y of in d i v i d u a l poem. Only in this way, i s the reader challenged to transcend the l i m i t s r o l e , and appreciate a poem f u l l y . I t i s basic to say of the poetic experience that i t i s anomalous:- i t - 7 -i s at once a conventional, socially-determinate experience, and an unconventional, individually-centred experience. The poetic experience then i s always deviant to the degree that i t i s innovative, and this deviancy i s , within l i m i t s , the substance of a primary poetic convention which has been called "foregrounding""'. Of foregrounding, the l i n g u i s t Geoffrey Leech writes, It i s a very general p r i n c i p l e of a r t i s t i c com-munication that a work of art in some way devi-ates from norms which we, as members of society, have learned to expect i n the medium used....As a general r u l e , anyone who wishes to investigate the significance and value of a work of art must concentrate on the element of inte r e s t and sur-p r i s e , rather than on the automatic pattern. Such deviations from l i n g u i s t i c or other s o c i a l -l y accepted norms have been given the special name of ""foregrounding"" which evokes the analogy of a fig u r e seen against a background. The a r t i s t i c deviation sticks out from i t s back-ground l i k e a figure i n the foreground of a v i s u a l f i e l d . The application of this concept to poetry i s obvious.. The foregrounded figure i s the l i n g u i s t i c deviation and the background i s the language—the system taken for granted i n any talk of "deviation" 1. Just as the' eye picks out the figure as the important and meaningful e l -ement i n i t s f i e l d of v i s i o n , so the reader of poetry picks out the l i n g u i s t i c deviation...as the most arresting and s i g n i f i c a n t part of the message.1 Obviously, e f f e c t i v e foregrounding pre-supposes a v a r i e t y of norms against which a r t i s t i c deviations may be recognized. In the case of bp Nichol rs poem, normative expectations are created by the general way i n which the poem i s presented and act i n concert with the prejudices of the poetry-perceiver 1 Geoffrey N. Leech, A L i n g u i s t i c Guide to English  Poetry (London:: Longmans, 1969), pp. 5 6 - 5 7 . - 8 -to structure the poetic experience as a whole towards the d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of certain deviant, but meaningful patterns. The poem is presented as a poem i n an anthology of poetryr i t has a t i t l e i n the format of many poems; the structure of the poem i s verbal l i k e that of a l l poetry; i t even seems to have a kind of l i n e or verse structure l i k e most poetry. Nichol's poem, while unusual, i s not complete-l y a t y p i c a l of poetry i n general. The s u p e r f i c i a l structure of the poem might even be said to emphasize the ordinary reader's expectations v i s - a - v i s poetry. The poem, however, d e f i n i t e l y does not fulfil.;.these-expectations, for i t dispenses with grammar, syntax, and the semantic complex-i t y which characterize most poetry. "Blues" 1 concerns i t -s e l f with two words and th e i r morphophonemic components, re-ordering these components as though to emphasize the most basic "autotelic"' q u a l i t i e s of language. Since the words with which Nichol deals also represent concepts, the reader comes to perceive a certain discordancy between the mute, u n i n t e l l i g i b l e structure of the language, and the idea which that structure nominally represents. Most poetry, of course, t r i e s to harmonize the a u t o t e l i c q u a l i t i e s of the language with the conceptual content of the poem, but i n t h i s instance those q u a l i t i e s are em-phasized" at such a basic l e v e l that the l i t e r a l meaning of the poem i s d i f f i c u l t to ascertain. While the poem de-viates from normal poetic practice by r e s t r i c t i n g i t s own -9-l i n g u i s t i c base, i t does involve meaningful pattern. The average reader i s l i k e l y to expect of poetry, as he does of other forms of verbal expression, that something i s to be communicated. In thi s case, the fragmentation of the words v'^0ve n and n fevol" r into t h e i r components simul-taneously indicates the fragmentation of the concepts they signify.- and the r i c h p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the l e t t e r s themselves. By fragmenting the word "love"', Nichol arrives at a word with opposite connotations: "evol" r. And vice  versa, of course. "Evol" 1 i s of p a r t i c u l a r significance here, however, because i t i s phonetically not quite iden-t i c a l with the word "evil"'. Orthographically, "evol" would seem to be a synthetic word reminiscent of "evolve", that i s , "development", or of the l a t i n phrase "e(x) vol(a)"' which means "but of hand". In short, the poem i s just another treatment of the contingency of love. I f love i s "out of hand"' i t i s both "evol"'and " e v i l " ; i t has evolved negatively. If the love i s requited, then i t evolves p o s i t i v e l y , and " e v i l " i s "out of hand". Since i t i s seldom possible to predict at a given moment i n a love a f f a i r how i t w i l l develop, the poem r e f l e c t s the ambiguity of an actual s i t u a t i o n quite accurately. The poem succeeds, i f i t can be said to do so, by deviating widely from our expectations of what poetry should be l i k e , rather than by deviating from our expect-ations of what love ought to be l i k e . Foregrounding is. -10-perhaps the key to the so-called "uniqueness",*'of the poetic experience. Shakespeare's l a t e r verse i s not great, f o r instance, because i t imitates the order of iambic pentameter, but because i t deviates from this phonic order i n a pleasing way. In the poetic experience rules are made to be broken. I l l ' The Necessity of Convention and the Language of Reality I f , of course, the poetic experience r e a l l y requires rules made to be broken, the rules are quite as important as the act which breaks them. Self-evidently, foreground-ing can only be e f f e c t i v e when a certain basic proportion i s preserved between the figure and the ground of basic poetic structure. A r t i s t i c communication depends upon the commonality of terms which a r t i s t i c conventions im-ply, just as a r t i s t i c vividness depends upon the innovative figurations which a r t i s t i c deviations imply. For an a r t -i s t i c experience to be simultaneously understandable and int e r e s t i n g , a r t i s t i c conventions and deviations must be simultaneously apparent.. It must be c l e a r l y evident, as well, that any innovative a r t i s t i c deviation which proves meaning-f u l may become conventional and serve as the ground for further innovation.-Ahy a r t i s t i c convention, poetic convention included, i s only a preconception set up by a c o l l e c t i v e knowledge -11-of what deviations from l i n g u i s t i c and poetic usuage have been successful—and therefore permissible—up to a given time. T'.l-r. E l i o t writes, No poet, no a r t i s t of any a r t , has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his r e l a t i o n to the dead poets and a r t i s t s . You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead....The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which i s modi-f i e d by the introduction of the new (the r e a l l y newT work of art among them.. The existing or-Ser i s complete before the new work arri v e s ; for order to p e r s i s t after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, i f ever so s l i g h t l y , altered;-and so the r e l a -tions, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted....! iT convention may be primary insofar as i t i s fundamental i n some way to the basic communicative context i n func-t i o n a l terms, or secondary insofar as i t i s superadded to the basic communicative context a r t i f i c i a l l y f o r sty-l i s t i c reasons. To the extent that secondary conventions l i k e rhyme and meter are a r t i f i c i a l conventions, they are also deviations from pre-existing conventions governing the "natural"' use of language. This anomaly does not s p o i l , however, the effectiveness of rhyme and meter i n promoting foregrounding and enhancing the poetic experience. E l i o t notes, ...the ghost of some simple metre should lurk behind the arras i n even the ^'freest , t !' verse; to advance menacingly as we doze, and withdraw as 1 T.S. E l i o t , "Tradition and the Individual Talent 1 1", Selected Prose (Penguin, 1965), p. 23". -12-we rouse. Or, freedom i s only t r u l y freedom when i t appears against the background of an a r t i f i c i a l l i m i t a t i o n . ! I t i s true, of course, that some secondary conventions are seldom transgressed within the context of a single poetic experience. The convention according to which the beginning l e t t e r of each poetic verse i s c a p i t a l i z e d i s a good example of such a convention.. Such conventions function to ef f e c t foegrounding or poetic deviation by designating that the structure of which i t i s part i s poetic, and therefore licenced to deviate from the o r d i -nary norms of reader expectation. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the apparently d i s f u n c t i o n a l conventions of highly s t y l i z e d verse l i k e that of the "metaphysical"' poets are usually balanced by the most surprising and innovative semantic s t r u c t u r e s — c o n c e i t s , for instance, that may seem pro-portionately extreme to a modern s e n s i b i l i t y . Conventions i n poetry, even when apparently a r t i f i c i a l and d i s f u n c t i o n a l , are often not the sign of a s l a v i s h conformity:' they can be the instruments of a complex o r i g i n a l i t y . It i s important i n this respect to avoid confusing poetic conventions with l i n g u i s t i c and semantic paradigms i n poetry generally. Poetic conventions l i k e meter are obviously paradigmatic, but so are many of the deviations from these conventions—deviations which, as I have noted, may become conventional at a l a t e r time. The poetic experience tends to be characterized by what Peckham 1 E l i o t , "Reflections on 'Verse Libre"", p. 8 5 -13-c a l l s the "bverdetermination"' 1 of i t s variables which, as I s h a l l indicate i n more d e t a i l l a t e r , can be used to create both conventional and unconventional paradigms of language and meaning. The reader expects some kind of r e g u l a r i t y i n poetry, some system of correspondences not evident i n mundane verbal events. At the most basic l e v e l , he expects poetic structures to be marked by a- "measure" 2, a mani-pulation of the basic phonemic units of stress, p i t c h , and juncture which produces a p a r t i c u l a r rhythmic order d i s t i n c t from the order we tend to take for granted i n ordinary speech. Insofar as this kind of manipulation i s effected by the selection and unusual emphasis of cer-t a i n l i n g u i s t i c structures, the es s e n t i a l content of the language may be said to be "bverdetermined" rbeyond the needs of ordinary communication. Phonic overdetermination serves to i n d i v i d u a l i z e poetic language as an autonomous structure, and make i t f i g u r a t i v e against the ground of common discourse. Such l i n g u i s t i c patterning allows the reader the opportunity of escaping• from the ordinary l i n g u i s t i c structures which form the context of, and tend 1 See Peckham, pp. 138-139, 2 c f . William Carlos Williams, "On Measure—State-ment for Cid Corman"', Selected Essays (New Yorkr. New Directions, 1969), pp. 337-3^0. The word "measure", as used i n this essay, i s relevant to, and within the context of Williams 1' sense of i t . • - l l f -to structure his ideas or a s s o c i a t i o n s . 1 The poetic ex-perience i s not an ordinary experience governed by o r d i -nary l o g i c , and the "unnatural"morphophonemic paradigms created by phonic overdetermination emphasize this f a c t . The "New Critics""may overstate their case when they say that poetry embodies an absolutely unique meaning, and Pound's d e f i n i t i o n of l i t e r a t u r e , Great l i t e r a t u r e i s simply language charged 2 with meaning to the utmost possible degree., may be a l i t t l e too s i m p l i s t i c to be of use. One point i s c l e a r , however. Since i n ordinary discourse paradigms of morphophonemic units functions to ensure communication, the s e l e c t i v e and deviant ( i f sanctioned) use of these units indicates a sp e c i a l and individualized presentation of a meaning. There i s a sense i n which poetry i s a d i a -l e c t of the language which i t nominally uses. The p r i n c i p l e of overdetermination need not be r e s t r i c t e d to the phonemic and morphemic le v e l s of language; as a p r i n c i p l e i t i s i n -f l u e n t i a l at a l l l e v e l s of l i n g u i s t i c usuage. The poetic experience presents us with new paradigms of meaning which j i n f a c t create a new form of language:- t h i s i s the end to-wards which a l l forms of poetic device work, and i t i s only in this end that the tension between convention and innovation I i n poetry can be resolved. i 1 See Benjamin Lee Whorf, "Science and Linguistics"', Applied English L i n g u i s t i c s , ed. H .Bi A l l e n (New Yorkr j App 1 etonfGentury-Crof t s , 19w), pp-*I 58-69. 2 Ezra Pound, AJBTCTof Reading (New Yorkr: New Directions, I960), p. 36. -15-Now, i f i t does not structure my concept of r e a l i t y , language i s at l e a s t c o r r e l a t i v e with that concept to the extent that a change i n one i s l i k e l y to mean a change i n the other. Insofar as the poetic experience a l t e r s language to produce new paradigms of expression, can i t not a l t e r as well my basic ontological orientation towards the world, and offer the p o s s i b i l i t y of new insight into human exp-perience? While ontological re-orientation does not neces-s a r i l y follow from l i n g u i s t i c innovation 1, i t s p o s s i b i l i t y remains as a valuable end. Peckham suggests that poetry i s designedly deviant to prevent the reader from becoming so orderly i n his thought processes that his mind stagnates. 2 And the poetic ex-perience does seem to deviate from quotidian ways of understanding and perceiving r e a l i t y . As I have indicated, poetry i s a f i g u r a t i v e act which deals with figurations of r e a l i t y rather than that r e a l i t y which presents i t s e l f as the a c t u a l i t y of day to day existence. P'betry i s oriented towards appearance, and not what one usually thinks of as "reality" 1'; i t i s always a f i c t i o n , and can never be what i t represents although i t can represent what can never be in a c t u a l i t y . The poetic experience i s , as Susanne Langer 1 This conception obviously relates d i r e c t l y to the con-cern of American poets with the q u a l i t i e s of "American English", a d i s t i n c t l y "American poetry"', and a r a d i c a l ( i . e . , rooted and fundamental) "American culture"'. See, Williams, "The Poem as a F i e l d of Action", pp. 280-291. 2 Peckham, pp. 305-315. -16-would have i t , l i s a v i r t u a l rather than an actual exper-ience; i n this respect i t resembles madness and dreams, for i t s representations have no greater objective v a l i d i t y . It i s true that Langer holds dream at least to be an actual experience, describing cinema as " v i r t u a l dream"7 In this sense, however, she i s using the notion of a c t u a l i t y to designate the ground against which an appearance appears, not the ground against which a r e a l i t y i s r e a l i z e d . The d i s t i n c t i o n i s important. It permits Langer to make such apparently paradoxical statements as, Cinema i s " l i k e " ' dream i n the mode of i t s pres-entation: i t creates a v i r t u a l present, an order of d i r e c t apparition. That i s the mode of dream.3 How can dream be "v i r t u a l " ' and "actual"' at the same time? The answer inheres in the two notions of a c t u a l i t y noted previously. Any-virtual event; can be actual i n terms of another; where one v i r t u a l event contributes to the appearance of another, an actual r e l a t ion exists which empirically validates i t s subjects. This v a l i d a t i o n , however, i s relevant onlywthat r e l a t i o n and not to the larger scheme of r e l a t i o n s which constitutes the a c t u a l i t y of day to day existence. A l l figurations therefore have a measure of a c t u a l i t y , but i t i s the ac t u a l i t y of r e a l i z a t i o n , rather than ordinary r e a l i t y . In the poetic experience the human 1 Susanne K. Langer, Feeling and Form (New Yorkr S'cribners, 1953T, p p . 211-219. 2 Ibid . , pp-. ifl2-1+13. 3 Ibid., p . k-12. -17-mind i s absorbed in an experience that has s t r u c t u r a l l y l i t t l e to do with ordinary human existence;- the r e a l i t y of poetic existence i s extra-ordinary. What appears to be i s i n terms of i t s presentation, and not necessarily i n terms of the reader's expectations, for these expect-ations belong to a d i f f e r e n t mode of being. TV Poetry as a Demonology Sanskrit scholars may be correct when they c l a s s i f y poetry as a medium f o r a p a r t i c u l a r kind of transcental experience. 1 In a sense, not i n the least metaphorical, i t i s proper to c a l l the f u l l e s t poetic experience an instance of demonic possession. That most conservative of c r i t i c s , Yvor Winters writes, Professor X, as a sentimentalist, i s inclined to speak of the magic of poetry; he uses the term magic i n a f i g u r a t i v e sense which he has probably never bothered to define. There i s something supernatural about poetry, however, i n a simple, l i t e r a l and theological sense which Professor X" i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d has seldom consi-dered. In poetry one mind acts d i r e c t l y upon 1 Krishna Chaitanya writes as follows i n Sanskrit Poetics (New York:-Asia Publishing, 1965), P. ^OJ: n\ .. the d i s t i n c t -ion suggested between mystic and poetic experience...is con-siderably narrowed down. Just as mystic experience prevents i t s e l f from being a dessication of the senses and inoperancy of the s p i r i t by maintaining the bond with the poetic r i c h -ness of the world, poetic experience prevents the bond with the world from becoming a bondage; by moving near the mys-t i c state, though not by an immersion i n the s e l f - o b l i v i o n of trance". See also, S.K. De, Sanskrit Ppetics as a Study of  Aesthetic ('Berkleyr University of C a l i f o r n i a Press;, 1963), p. 69. -18-another, without regard to "natural"' law, the law of chemistry or of physics. Furthermore, the action i s not only an action by way of i d -ea, but by way of emotion and moral attitude; i t i s both complex and elusive. Poetry i s a medium by means of which one mind may to a great-er or less extent take possession of another, a l -most i n the sense i n which possession i s used i n demonology.l Insofar as the poetic experience involves the mind's enter-ing into the consciousness of another person to what Win-ters implies i s a precarious degree of psychic immersion, the insights that mind w i l l obtain depend larg e l y upon the a b i l i t y of the poet to create a suitable medium for in s i g h t . The importance of the a t y p i c a l i t y of poetic f i g -uration i s that i t cannot be appreciate from the stand-point of the ordinary roles which compose human consciousness:- i f I wish to tr u l y appreciate a poem I must surrender myself to the w i l l of the poet to that degree necessary to under-stand his p a r t i c u l a r i z e d orientation towards the world, and the unique figurations which represent this orientation. Insofar as the r e a l i t y of the poem transcends ordinary d e f i n i t i o n s of a c t u a l i t y , i t i s not of importance whether the pbet's actual intentions correspond to my assumptions regarding them. For that matter i t i s not r e a l l y important that the poet e x i s t s . To speak of the "poet's w i l l " ' i s only to speak of the demands which a poetic creation makes upon i t s reader. In this respect, the basic convention which 1 - Yvor Winters, On Modern Poets (Sew!^d?kiIv^M@Md"ian -19-which s a n c t i f i e s "poetic licence"' and ordains "the w i l l i n g suspension of d i s b e l i e f " i s most important because i t allows the mind to make the f u l l e s t possible use of a medium for what i s e s s e n t i a l l y a trans-subjective communica-t i o n . The poet i s thus free to work the f a b r i c of the language to reveal even common r e a l i t i e s with unexpected force. The poem i s a kind of demon. As Winters says, i t i s not subject to "natural"' law. In t h i s context i t i s i l -luminating to r e c a l l Plato's conception of demons or s p i r i t s . According to Plato, demons are s p i r i t s which mediate between the world o f the gods (the i d e a l world) and the world of men (the natural world) 1. The supreme demon i s Eros, the l i f e - f o r c e , who bears the essential truths of the i d e a l world to men, and returns with p r o p i t i a t i o n s * In Plato's ""Symposium"1 Diotima says o f Eros, He i s a great s p i r i t C d a i m o n ) and l i k e a l l s p i r i t s he i s intermediate between the divine and the mortal....He interprets between gods and men, conveying and taking across to the gods the prayers and s a c r i f i c e s of men, and to men the commands of the gods and the benefits they return; he i s the mediator who spans the chasm w h i c h divides them, and therefore by him the universe i s bound together, and through him the arts of the prophet and p r i e s t , their s a c r i f i c e s and mysteries and charms, and a l l prophesy and incantation f i n d their way. For God mingles not with man; but through Love a l l the intercourse of gods with men, whether they be awake or asleep, i s carried on. The wisdom which understands this i s s p i r i t u a l ; a l l other wisdom...is mean and v u l g a r . 1 1 Plato, "Symposium"', A Plato Reader, ed. R.B; Levinson (Boston:^ Houghton M i f f l i n , 1967)', p. i j / . -20-Like poetry, Plato 's demon belongs to Wo worldsr "he i s intermediate between the divine and the mortal"'. Winters seems to believe that poetry i s a state i n which the reader's c r i t i c a l f a c u l t i e s must be a l e r t , i f he i s not to be carried away into the nether world of madness:-...a demon, or a genius, may be almost t o t a l l y deprived of being i n large areas i n which theor-e t i c a l l y he ought to ex i s t , and at the same time may have achieved an extraordinary degree of ac-t u a l i t y i n the regions i n which he does exist; and when this happens, his persuasive power i s enormous, and i f we f a i l to understand his l i m -i t a t i o n s he i s one of the most dangerous forces in the universe.-"-The truths which poetry bears are l i k e those which the demon bears from the gods to menr they are s t a r t l i n g and seemingly transmundane, and being i d i o s y n c r a t i c within the context of this world may or may not be valuable i n r e a l terms. The important point here i s that poetry, l i k e madness, has the capacity for taking man beyond the l i m i t s of a c t u a l i t y . Indeed, i n the "Phaedrus"', Plato has Sbcrates equate poetic i n s p i r a t i o n with madnessr ...the madness of those who-are possessed by the Muses...taking hold of a d e l i c a t e and v i r g i n soul, and there i n s p i r i n g frenzy awakens l y r i c a l and a l l other numbers; with these adorning the myriad actions of ancient heroes f o r the i n s t r u c -t i o n of p o s t e r i t y . But'.'he who, having no touch of the Muses' madness i n his soul, comes to th© door and thinks that he w i l l get into the temple by the help of a r t — h e , I' say, and his poetry are not admitted: the sane man disappears and i s nowhere when he enters into r i v a l r y with the madman? 1 Winters, p. l*+2. 2 Plato, "Phaedrus"', p. 171 -21-Ih madness ordinary normative and r a t i o n a l structures of mind lose operational v a l i d i t y so that the madman perceives i n ways previously unknown what may be objectively a quite ordinary, quotidian r e a l i t y . Some theorists l i k e Dabrowski and R.D. Laing suggest that madness i s e s s e n t i a l l y an organic process for e f f e c t i n g great and fundamental integrations; that i s to say, that i t i s a p a r t i c u l a r manifestation of a general creative process basic to the human being.''" Laing writes, We experience in d i f f e r e n t modes. We perceive external r e a l i t i e s , we dream, imagine, have semi-conscious reveries. Some people have v i s i o n s , hal-l ucinations, experience faces transfigured, see auras ? and so on. Most people most of the time experience themselves and others i n one or other way that I s h a l l c a l l egoic. That i s c e n t r a l l y or peripherally, they experience the world, and themselves i n terms of a consistent i d e n t i t y , a me-here over against a you-there, within a framework of cer t a i n ground structures of space and time, &.bared with other members of their society.2 This "'egoic11' form of experience i s obviously essential to the maintenance of quotidian r e a l i t y , i f i t i s not i n f a c t c o n s t i t u t i v e of i t s a c t u a l i t y . Laing writes further, This identity-anchored, space-and-time-bound experience has been studied p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y by Kant, and l a t e r by the phenomenologists, e.g. Husserl, Merleau-Ponty. Its h i s t o r i c a l and onto-l o g i c a l r e l a t i v i t y should be f u l l y r e a l i z e d by any contemporary student of the human scene. Its c u l t u r a l , socio-eoncomic r e l a t i v i t y has become 1 See, Kazmirez Dabrowski, Positive Disintegration ("Bbstonr Little,Brown and Co., 1964), p p . 1-32. A :lso, R.D. Laing, The P o l i t i c s of Experience and  Bird of Paradise (Penguin, 1967)', pp.~"oV-119. 2 Laing, pp. 112-113. -22-a commonplace among anthropologists and a p l a t -itude to the Marxists and neo-Marxists. And yet, with the consensual and interpersonal confirmation ±t o f f e r s , i t gives us a sense of ontological sec-u r i t y , whose v a l i d i t y we experience as s e l f - v a l i d -ating, although metaphysically-historically-onto-l o g i c a l l y - s o c i o - e c o n o m i c a l l y - c u l t u r a l l y we know i t s apparent absolute v a l i d i t y as an i l l u s i o n . 1 Laing's conception of quotidian, that i s , "egoic" r e a l i t y i s strangely Platonic rather than r e l a t i v i s t i c or phenomeno-l o g i c a l . His theory supposes a transcendental realm ac-cessible through madness; every man (poetentially, to coin a phrase) his own demon. Whether or not such a realm exists i s a moot point. In general, however, the a c t u a l i t y of the ordinary world does take second place to another form of r e a l i t y i n certain psychic s i t u a t i o n s . This v i r t u a l world, as Langer c a l l s i t , i s both the world of madness and the world of the poetic, and involves s i g n i f i c a n t , but not otherwise r e a l i z a b l e integrations. I tend to believe that poetry provides a vicarious experience of a kind of madness which, i f properly appreciated, provides the bene-f i t s of the new integrations possible through insanity without the drawbacks involved i n actually experiencing that state. V Integration and the Problem of Truth and Beauty The word "integration"" i s a problematic term. Stevens asserts that poetry provides i t s reader with a s i g n i f i c a n t 1 Laing, p. 113 -23-ordering of experience v/hich can be said to be an integration to the extent that i t i s effective:: The philosopher searches for an integration for i t s own sake, as, for example, Plato's idea that knowledge i s r e c o l l e c t i o n or that the soul i s a? harmony; the poet searches for an integration that s h a l l be not so much s u f f i c i e n t i n i t s e l f as s u f f i c i e n t f or some quality that i t possesses, such as i t s insight, i t s evocative power-or i t s appearance i n the eye of the imagination. The philosopher intends his integration to be f a t e -f u l ; the poet intends his to be e f f e c t i v e . 1 Stevens' sense of what constitutes poetic integration has further meaning i f understood within the context of Alfred Worth Whitehead 1s concept of art as ultimate exper i e n t i a l harmony. The end of a r t , the philosopher says, i s both Truth and Beauty, the two being defined as follows, Beauty i s the inter n a l conformation of the var-ious items of experience with each other, f o r the production of maximum effectiveness. Beauty thus concerns the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s of the various components of Reality, and also the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s of the various components of Appearance, and also^ the relations of Appearance to Reality....Truth has a narrower meaning i n two ways. F i r s t , Truth i n any important sense, merely concerns the re l a t i o n s of Appearance to Re a l i t y . It i s the conformation of Appearance to Re a l i t y . But in the second place the notion of 'conformation' i n the case of Truth i s narrower than that i n the case of Beauty... For the truth r e l a t i o n requires that the two r e l a t a have some factor i n common.2 In a truth r e l a t i o n Appearance conforms to Reality merely in terms of some shared fa c t o r . Truth therefore involves 1 Wallace Stevens, "A Collect of Philosophy"", The  Age of Complexity, ed. H. Kohl (New York:- New American L"ibrary, 1965)', p. 26*+. 2 Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas ('New Ybrkr Macmillan, 1935), p. 31+2. -2>+-the harmonization of subject and object i n terms of i d e n t i t y , whereas Beauty involves the harmonization of both i d e n t i c a l and non-identical e n t i t i e s , r e a l and unreal, i n terms of a f a r more ccmplexisystem of re l a t i o n s h i p s . Truth and Beauty are connected, for i t would appear that Truth can be aspect of Beauty. Both Truth and Beauty involve integrations, but integrations of greater or le s s e r complexity. Consider Whitehead's discussion of Beauty as Appearance:-Appearance i s beautiful when the q u a l i t a t i v e objects which compose i t are interwoven i n pa-tterned ^contrasts, so that the prehensions of the whole of i t s parts produces the f u l l e s t har-mony of mutual support. By th i s i t i s meant, that i n so f a r as the q u a l i t a t i v e characters of the whole and the parts pass into the sub-jec t i v e forms of their prehensions, the whole heightens the feelings f o r the parts, and the parts heighten the feelings f o r the whole, and for eabh other. This i s harmony of feeling;; and' with harmony of f e e l i n g i t s objective content i s beaut i f ul.,1 Beauty i s a s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t order, a holism which i s per-ceived to reconcile the differences of the e n t i t i e s which comprise i t . . When Whitehead says that a rt "Is purposeful adaption of Appearance to Reality"" 2 he means that art makes the s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t order of the Beauty of Appearance meaningful i n terms,of R e a l i t y . In other words, art es-tablishes a t r u t h - r e l a t i o n between Beauty, pattern without meaning within the larger context of the world i t s e l f , and Rea l i t y as that objective world i n c l u s i v e of human s i g n i f i -cances. An a r t i s t i c integration re-orders appearances i n a'paradigmatic way which can be connected releyantly to 1 Whitehead, p.. 3^ "+. 2 Ibid. -25-to the experience of men i n general. Obviously, an ar-t i s t i c integration necessarily involves r e a l i t y as well as the v i r t u a l i t y of pure appearance: t h i s i s the conclusion reached e a r l i e r i n examination of Susanne Langer's theories. In the poem "Blues'", for instance, bp Nichol breaks the words "love" and "evol"' into their component s t r u c t u r e s — structures which are "appearances"' i n the s t r i c t e s t sense as having no significance i n the context of human r e a l i t y . The poet re-orders these appearances to create a new para-digm which presents i n a new way an apprehendable (and rather common) meaning. It i s incorrect therefore f o r me to say that the structure of the poem i s without s i g -nificance within the context of a l l human r e a l i t y . Reality i s known through paradigms"^ and insofar as this poem esta-blishes a paradigm i t establishes i t s own f i e l d of r e l a t i o n . Nichol's poem i s art within the terms of Whitehead's d e f i n i t i o n because i t purposef u!Lyv sdspfs a pattern of appearances to the r e a l i t y of human experience. Moreover, this poetic integration, l i k e a l l poetic integration, i s l i k e the integration effected by madness: i t i s oriented towards r e a l i t y in terms of a p a r t i c u l a r way of ordering the world rather than i n terms of the world as a fixed r e a l i t y i t s e l f . 1 c f . Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of S c i e n t i f i c  Revolutions (Chicago:. The University of Chicago Press, 1962), p a r t i c u l a r l y "The P r i o r i t y of Paradigms'", pp. *+3-5l. -26-VI Poetry and the Poet's World Winters would seem to have a p a r t i c u l a r l y viable point when he says the reader must come to poetry with his c r i t i c a l f a c u l t i e s activated. Poetry may or may not be b e n e f i c i a l i n a moral sense; i t s way of ordering human experience might imply good or e v i l values within a given moral system. Insofar as the poetic experience i s one of possession, communion'"-rather than merely communication, the reader must exercise some care. Winter's point i s that poetry, however v i r t u a l , actualizes human values. No matter how transcendental an experience of poetry may be, i t i s always characterized by certain values, i m p l i c i t or e x p l i c i t . Within the con-text of the poem, the values of both reader and poet mingle, and these values, of course, determine the s e l e c t i v i t y of the behavior which follows, even i f that behavior i s only exhibited i n the reader's response to the poem. Winters writes, The act of the poet I have described i n a number of essays, and I have repeatedly c a l l e d i t an act of moral judgment., The act of moral judg-ment so considered i s f a r more d i f f i c u l t , i s a much f u l l e r experience, than an act of c l a s s i -f i c a t i o n : i t i s a f u l l and d e f i n i t i v e account of human experience. 2 1 See c A l l e n Tate, "The Man of Letters i n the Modern World":, Collected Essays (Denver: Swallow, 1959), p. 385. 2 Winters, p. 7"+. -27-Insofar as poetry involves the conscious or unconscious (as in automatic) selection of various l i n g u i s t i c variables to produce an expressive pattern, i t also involves re a l or attributable values. The l i n g u i s t i c variables involved i n poetry are r e f e r e n t i a l l y attached to human experience, and insofar as t h i s experience i s incomplete without a moral dimension^, poetry always represents a p a r t i c u l a r evaluation of human experience. What poetry communicates i s not just "beautiful truth" r, as Whitehead would have i t , but a complete valuative orientation towards the world. If the poetic were a s o l i p s i s t i c experience, i t could conceivably be amoral, for then the reader could i n f e r •what he liked to the poem including a t o t a l absence of values. However, even i f from a s u b j e c t i v i s t point-of-view, the only universal i s the solipsim i n which I exist^ poetry i s s t i l l that form of communion which permits me to experience another mind's solipsrefl),and a universal beyond myself. In a l t e r i n g the reader's concept of the universe however momentarily the poetic experience also a l t e r s the base on which a l l moral values are founded. Such a claim might seem to be extravagant, but i t i s p r o f i t a b l e to consi-der why i t might be true. To the degree that every poem i s i n d i v i d u a l — i n some sense i d i o l e c t i c a l as well as d i a -l e c t i c a l — t h e conceptual si g n i f i c a n c e of a p a r t i c u l a r poem 1 Winters, pi 73 -28-must be always somewhat vague, i f not mysterious, the im-p l i c a t i o n s of the work extending beyond the l i m i t s of the poem as a structure, and beyond the l i m i t s of i n d i v i d u a l apprehension. This e x t r a - r e f e r e n t i a l i t y of poetry i s , of course, linked to the poet's role as language-maker. In terms of the reader, this e x t r a - r e f e r e n t i a l i t y i s a matter of connotation, convention, and association. The f u l l con-tent of a poetic experience, as of any experience ultimately, i s elusive: the ultimate context of a poem's meaning involves the t o t a l co-extension of the consciousness' of the poet and the reader. Could such co-extension be grasped i n i t s entirety and communicated, a single interpretation would be possible for any given work. But such an event i s clear-l y most u n l i k e l y . By convention the reader tends to look for extra meaning i n poetry, and this simple act of searching leads him to apply the unique order the poem in question represents according to i t s own p r i n c i p l e s : he can have no better guide. But the reader's acceptance of this order takes him beyond the l i t e r a l l i m i t s of the poem as a form of conventional discourse. The poem becomes an "open f i e l d " ' as Charles Olson would have i t . 1 In this sense the experience of the poem i s an experience of a species of "world hypothesis" as Stephen Pepper c a l l s i t ; 1 See, Charles Olson, "Projective Verse"", Selected  Writings, ed. Robert Creeley (New York: New Directions 1966), 15-17. -29-A world hypothesis, as we said e a r l i e r , d i f f e r s from other empirical hypotheses only i n i t s being unrestricted i n i t s subject matter. 1 Wow, the extensiveness of any world hypothesis for Pepper i s a function of the "root metaphor" from which i t i s derived, and which i s always central to i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a p p l i c a t i o n s . 2 Both the poetic experience and the world hypothesis devolve from analogical relationships, that i s , some synthetic rendering of r e l a t a which has a d e f i n i t e order, but i n d e f i n i t e , and therefore unrestricted scope. A poem thus becomes a philosophy i n i t s e l f , although not "philosophy"' i n the ordinary sense of the word. As Wal-lace Stevens says, If the philosopher's world i s the present world plus thought, "then the poet's world i s the pre-sent world plus imagination.3 The difference between poetry and formal philosophy inheres in a p p l i c a t i o n . The poetic experience does not concern i t -s e l f with the world per se, but with the world plus imagi-n a t i o n — t h e world hypothetically ordered, this i l l u s i o n a r y experience implying through i t s patterning of correspondencies a systematic way of perceiving a possible, as opposed to an actual world. This i s not to say that poetry i s merely f a n c i f u l . Stevens also writes, 1 Stephen Pepper, Concept and. Quality: A World Hypothesis (La S a l l e , 111.: Open Court, 19^7), p. 5. 2 See Pepper's World Hypotheses (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 19!+2), pp. 96-100. 3 Stevens, "A Collect of Philosophy" 1, p. 266. -30-T6 c a l l attention to ideas in which the reason and the imagination have been acting in concert i s a way of saying that when they act i n concert they are supreme. 1 A poem may not be a philosophy although i t may imply one. According to Whitehead the reason deals with Truth as the simplest and most basic of a l l correspondencies possible, whereas the imagination deals with Beauty as a complex system of correspondency which may include truth? Thus, the imagination may be said to include the functions of reason. The poetic experience deals with a high order of truth, demonstrating i t i n terms of new imaginative para-digms rather than analyzing i t in terms of conventionalized polemic or any empirical methodology. VII Poetry as Ontology The kind of integration with which the poetic exper-ience deals, and the ends of that integration, can be c l a r i f i e d to some extent i n terms of a statement by Martin Heidegger, ...we now understand poetry as the inaugural naming of the gods and of the essence of things* To "dwell poetically"' means: to stand i n the proximity of the essence of things. Existence i s " p o e t i c a l " ! i n i t s fundamental aspect—which means'at the same time: in so f a r as i t i s es-tablished (founded), i t i s not recompense, but a g i f t . Poetry i s not merely an ornament accompanying existence, not merely a temporary enthusiasm or 1 Stevens, p. .267. 2 Whitehead, pp. 3^-3^8 -31-nothing but an interest and amusement.. Poetry i s the foundation which supports history, and therefore i t i s not a mere appearance of c u l -ture, and absolutely not the mere ""expression"' of a "'culture s o u l " . 1 Heidegger considers poetry as more than an excrescence or mere "appearance1"' of culture. According to him, poetry i s the essence of culture, or the ethos, mythos, and logos by which men approach the essence of things themselves and of existence as universal Being. Poetry may indeed be an aspect of culture as c r i t i c s l i k e Peckham are prone to conclude 2 but poetry i s the aspect of culture which determines i t s ontological identity.. Poetry may not bring the gods into being, but i t provides the means by which I understand them: i t names and i d e n t i f i e s them within the terms of myth. Likewise, poetry does not bring the essence of things into being i n general, but brings me into a context in which I may perceive what i s the essence of things i n that primary act of discrimination and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , the logos which predicates human values. In other words, poetry i s a knowable and unknowable f i e l d of action, not only an expression of e x i s t e n t i a l environ-ment, but the environment i t s e l f , inner and outer. Even history i s only the record of poetry as an act of mind 1 Martin Heidegger, "Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry", Existence and Being, trans. Doublas Scott (Chicago: Regnery, 1967), pp."252-283. 2 Although Peckham asserts the p r i o r i t y of poetic deviation to poetry, he i s too concerned with explaining the manner in which poetry deviates from, and i s assimilated by c u l t u r a l norms to give i t s constitutive power due c r e d i t . -32-structuring the consciousness of man and his culture. In this sense, poetry i s not so much the repository of values and archetypes x^hich determine culture as the creator and source of c u l t u r a l values and archetypes. As I stressed e a r l i e r , the poetic experience i s innovative, i f not c u l t u r a l l y deviant. Heidegger's concept of poetry draws attention to the o r i g i n a l i t y of the beauty and the truth, that i s , to the unexpected pattern of correspondencies which i s the end of poetic innovation and creation. The notion of poetic o r i g i n a l i t y must be understood i n terms of the root sense of the word; i t i s the rare and most fundamental nature of the poetic experience. To accept Heidegger 1s conception of poetry i s to accept the p o s s i b i l i t y of inherently poetic ideas. In "A Collect of Philosophy" Stevens speculates that such ideas ex i s t , and ci t e s the concept of i n f i n i t y as a good example."*" He does not define the concept of the poetic idea a n a l y t i c a l l y , but he does seem to imply that i t re-presents some a -priori condition of the Kantian and post-Kantian cosmos. I n f i n i t y , in the post-Kantian and E i n s t e i n -ian cosmos i s , for instance, an a p r i o r i condition of the most s i g n i f i c a n t order, and embodies such a large concept that the mind can scarcely apprehend it , i f i f can apprehend i t at a l l . D i f f i c u l t as i t may be to deal with such a 1 Stevens, pp. 252-253. -33-p r i o r i ' s as i n f i n i t y , they are fundamental to our existence, and are homologous with what Heidegger c a l l s the "essence of things". S i g n i f i c a n t l y , ultimate a p r i o r i ' s l i k e i n -f i n i t y or God t r a d i t i o n a l l y have lacked meaningful names: such conditions of existence are antecedent aft e r a l l to language. The mind needs a context in which to apprehend anything. Since that context or ground must always be larger than that which the mind seeks to d i f f e r e n t i a t e and under-stand, i t i s v i r t u a l l y impossible to understand an a p r i o r i l i k e i n f i n i t y because i n the r e a l terms of our s p a t i a l -temporal world there are no larger e n t i t i e s which might act as a ground. The poetic experience solves the problem by creating an unreal world which i s not bound by the a p r i o r i order of the r e a l world in any ordinary way. The poetic experience must be a universe i n i t s e l f , for only then is i t free to "name"' the gods and the essence of things. The fundamental ground of poetry i s a fundamental conception of the universe, and insofar as the poem i s i t s ground, i t i s this universe. Pepper's notion that art i s l a r g e l y q u a l i t a t i v e i n i t s f u n c t i o n 1 i s explicable in•terms-of.this ;view of poetry. The more fundamental a conception i s the more synthetic i t must be. To represent the fundamental conditions of human existence, poetry deals with the immediate conditions of l i f e as they stand out from i t s i n f i n i t e extensiveness i n terms of their condi-t i o n a l o r i g i n . Since no concept of established significance 1 See Pepper's Concept and Quality, pp. 3-5' -3>+-can represent the conditions p r i o r and primary to i t s own existence, poetry expresses the fundamental conditions of existence by evoking the q u a l i t i e s by which i t s subjects are apprehendable, and by synthesizing these q u a l i t i e s into a form ind i c a t i v e of a larger conception. Inasmuch as this synthesis i s unique, i t embodies an a p r i o r i . If poetry only communicates the sense by which things exist i n their fundamental state, i t i s s t i l l primarily q u a l i t a t i v e . While the poetic experience i s tied to language as a system of conceptual signs, i t transcends the l i m i t a t i o n s of the language through deviations of form. The combination of conceptually conventional and deviate form i n a s i g n i -f i c a n t pattern can be used to create a holism which com-municates q u a l i t i e s or conditions of l i f e not e f f e c t i v e l y rendered i n ordinary discursive terms. I f I accept the Whorfian Hypothesis 1, and understand conventional discourse as structuring my world-view, my understanding of "reality"', and even the processes of my reason, i t must be clear that poetry allows me the p o s s i b i l i t y of transcending the limited c u l t u r a l modes of thought which are a function of my l i n g u i s t i c blinders: poetry i s language i n transcendence of i t s e l f . Poetry i s not mimetic in any sense. It deals with the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i n g u i s t i c forms, not their act-u a l i t y , f or i t i s concerned with the quality of their existence as much as i t i s concerned with the quality by which anything else e x i s t s . To be a universe, to express 1 See Whorf, pp. 58-69. -35-the r e a l i t y of the world without being mimetic, a poem gives a l l things within i t s f i e l d of being a r e a l i t y without quotidian a c t u a l i t y . Trees, rocks, God, i n f i n i t y , metaphysical i d e a s — a l l are equal i n this respect. As Heidegger would have i t , poetry i s "fundamental t h i n k i n g " 1 because i t brings the reader close to the unapproachable r e a l i t y of the elusive K a n t i a n - t h i n g - i n - i t s e l f as he i s ever l i k e l y to come, VIII Poetry as Fundamental Thought Poetry then i s "fundamental thinking" communicated i n the form of fundamental expression. In the poetic experience the reader transcends the l i m i t a t i o n s of his c u l t u r a l l y determinant consciousness, transcending at the same time the subject-object dichotomy. Ultimately, the poetic ex-perience transcends i t s own v i r t u a l nature. Insofar as a reader looks for those v i v i d i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p s which I have defined as the substance of beauty i n poetry he i s looking for a s i g n i f i c a n t holism. And to the degree that he looks for that holism, he i s also looking for the u l -timate holism, i n Heidegger's terms, the vast generality of Being, the i n f i n i t e of existence in which a l l par t i c u -l a r i t i e s find unity. The ultimate value of poetry l i e s 1 See, Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. J . Md?uarrie (London: SCM Press, 1962), ppv;21-35, 22^-278. -36-in i t s a b i l i t y to create such holisms as have not existed before; i n f i g u r a t i v e o r i g i n a l i t y the largest generality may be made p a r t i c u l a r . The truth of poetry therefore comes to reside i n i t s capacity for what Heidegger c a l l s "disclosure". Consider the following, Not only i s i t wrong?, to invoke A r i s t o t l e f o r the thesis that the genuine 'locus' of truth l i e s i n the judgment; even i n i t s content t h i s thesis f a i l s to recognize the structure of truth. Assertion i s not the primary 'locus' of truth. On the contrary, whether as a mode i n which un-coveredness i s appropriated or as a way of Being-in-the-World, assertion i s grounded i n Dasein's uncovering, or rather i n i t s disclosedness. The most primordial 'truth' i s the 'locus' of asser-tion; i t i s the ontological condition f o r the p o s s i b i l i t y that assertions can be either true or f a l s e — t h a t they may uncover or cover things up. 1 Heidegger defines human truth as disclosure, the simple act of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n . "Dasein", the consciousness of man, i s b u i l t upon basic d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n s of the configuration of r e a l i t y . This f i g u r a t i v e truth precedes judgment or e-valuation, and makes both these acts possible. As Heidegger argues in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, the imagination i s the source of truth, and the root of a l l other mental f a c u l t i e s including reason because i t apprehends possible configurations, integrates and synthesizes the otherwise discordant elements of human experience into d i f f e r e n t i a b l e 2 wholes. Poetry, insofar as i t presents the "world plus 1 Heidegger, Being and Time, p. 269. 2 c f . Martin Heidegger, Kant and the Problem of Meta-physics, trans. J.S; Ch u r c h i l l (Bloomington: Indiana Univer-s i t y Press, 1962), pp. 166-176. -37-imagination" i s the ultimate "world hypothesis" 5, for i t imaginatively schematizes the world i n the most basic, i f ind i v i d u a l terms on a l l l e v e l s of consciousness—conceptual and perceptual, i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional. The advantage of Heidegger's theory of imagination i s , of course, that i t allows the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of any aspect of existence, whether i n t e l l e c t u a l or emotional, with truth to the degree that that aspect i s p a r t i c u l a r i z e d and disclosed. Reason, judgment, and i n t u i t i o n do not "disclose" 1 truth; they are merely separate ways of form-ulating and applying the truths which the imagination sup-p l i e s . The function of imagination i s to p a r t i c u l a r i z e B e i n g — i . e . , the i l l i m i t a b l e "what-is" 1 within and without— in terms of fundamental figure~ground r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and this i t does without regard for specialized functions of response at either end of the rational-emotive continuum. 2 The imagination, for Heidegger, i s neither more nor less than that faculty which mediates between the ontological and the ontic, the o r i g i n a l and the derivat i v e , forms i n the world and formulations i n the mind. On the one hand, the imagination i s pure perception; on the other, the essence 1 c f . Martin Heidegger, "What i s Metaphysics"', A Casebook on Existentialism , ed. W.Y. Spanos (New York: Crowell &~~Co., 1966), pp. 260-275. 2 c f . Heidegger's concept of imaginative function i n Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, pp. 166-176 and that of Susanne Langer i n Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling. v o l . 1 (London: 3"ohns Hopkins Press, 19677, pp. 2-32, 257-306. -38-of a l l conception. To maintain as Susanne Langer does i n her early writings that "feelings have d e f i n i t e forms which become progressively articulated"', 1 and that this a r t i c u l a t i o n i s the essence of a l l a r t r i n c l u d i n g poetry i s not an untrue statement, only an incomplete one. It would be just as true, and just as incomplete, to assert with Yvor Winters that a poem i s "conceptual in o r i g i n , and...cannot escape from i t s o r i g i n " . 2 Stevens writes, . . . i n the excitement of bringing things about i t i s not easy to say whether one i s thinking or f e e l i n g or doing both at the same time.3 The poetic experience i s an imaginative act within the scope of Heidegger's d e f i n i t i o n ; hence, poetry a r t i c u l a t e s both f e e l i n g and thought at the same time. As poetic, rather than any •other kind of functions, thought and fe e l i n g are separable only through a subsidiary act of mind. XX Poetry, Thought and Feeling,••and Authenticity To reduce the functional essence of the poetic to "thought" 1 of "feeling"' or any combination of these two i s an easy mistake to make, and one which points out the universalizing capacity of the imagination. A "pure"' poem1* 1 Susanne Langer, Philosophy i n a New Key (New York: Mentor, 1951), p. 92. 2 Winters, pp. 73-7*+. 3 Stevens, p. 26"+. h cf. Robert Penn Warren, "Pure and Impure Poetry" 1, Poetryr Theory ajQd, PracitJfifl. ed. L. Perrine (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962), pp*118-130. -39-could be a "pure"' imaginative act in the sense that that act would exist hy i t s e l f and for i t s e l f . But neither "pure" poetry nor "pure"! acts of imagination e x i s t . A peculiar property of the imagination i s that i t s acts can-not exist by themselves, for part of their function i s the generation of other kinds of apprehension such as "thought"' and "feeling"" as discrete processes of being. Since, the imagination tends to appear as a quality attendant upon the formulations of the mind which i t has i n i t i a t e d i t i s d i f f i c u l t to conceive of i t by i t s e l f . Now, the imagination i s the organ of a l l relatedness and cannot be considered subservient to those formulations which have their o r i g i n i n i t . To "disclose" truth the imagination relates opposites to one another in terms of the basic-figure ground relationship: t h i s , I have a l -ready noted. This r e l a t i o n a l process defines both the unity and the m u l t i p l i c i t y of the world not only i n the p a r t i c u l a r instances where i t i s manifestly apparent, but i n the general case of a l l instances. In other words, the imagination not only discloses p a r t i c u l a r states of being, but the ontological condition i n which man finds himself; that i s , i t discloses absolute Being i n Heidegger's sense. A good poem, for instance, does not say to me only, "This i s related to that i n the sense of such a difference and such a similarity""; i t also says, "This i s the paradigm of the tension of difference and s i m i l a r i t y by which a l l -No-things cohere i n Being". Through imagination the form in which p a r t i c u l a r i t i e s relate expresses the ontological condition which i s the ground for their existence. Tus, the imaginative quality of the poem i s the measure of the authen-t i c i t y with which that poem relates p a r t i c u l a r i t y and, what can only be considered to be an absolute Reality. "Authenticity"' i n this sense has as l i t t l e to do with a romantic notion of s i n c e r i t y as "absolute Reality"' (or i t s synonym, absolute Being) has to do \<rith realism. Just as "absolute Reality" implies an ultimate e x i s t e n t i a l ground which can include, without being spoiled by, the unreal or the i r r a t i o n a l , "authenticity"' refers to a s p e c i f i c a l l y ontological t r u t h - r e l a t i o n which i s not neces-s a r i l y s u l l i e d by i n s i n c e r i t y or improper motives. Neither r a t i o n a l consistency nor emotive s i n c e r i t y are of consequsnce in defining poetic "authenticity" 1 insofar as they are applied to the process by which a given poem i s created. The im-mediate fact of the poem i s , as I have indicated, the condi-t i o n primary to i t s existence; the process by which the poem i s created i s a n c i l l a r y to that f a c t , and i s not a proper ground f o r judgment. A l o g i c a l , but not very sincere Augustan poem may be quite as imaginative, and therefore as "authentic" as a sincere, but not very l o g i c a l Romantic poem. What counts in poetry i s the quality of imagination by which a poem expresses intention, the relatedness of that intention to the whole i n which i t appears: the intention i t --hi-s e l f , even where i t i s known, i s i n s i g n i f i c a n t except as an aspect of poetic form. 1 Wallace Stevens writes p e r t i -nently , To give a sense of the freshness or vividness of l i f e i s a v a l i d purpose for poetry. A d i d a c t i c purpose j u s t i f i e s i t s e l f i n the mind of the tea-cher, a philosophical purpose j u s t i f i e s i t s e l f i n the mind of the philosopher. It i s not that one purpose i s as j u s t i f i a b l e as another but that some purposes are pure, others impure. Seek those purposes that are purely those of the pure poet.2 The a xuality by which the reader knows the imaginativeness of a poem i s " a sense of the freshness or vividness of l i f e " . Ideally, the reader's relationship with the " r e a l " world of ordinary l i f e i s re-substantiated and r e - v i t a l i z e d through the simultaneous revelation of a being (existent) and the Being (existence) against which i t stands, and fo r \\rhich i t stands. The attainment of this r e l a t i o n i s the creation of the "'supreme f i c t i o n " ^ the supreme poetic "idea" so determinate in i t s form that i t gives a framework in which the o r d i n a r i l y indeterminate seems apprehendable. "Authenticity"' i n the poem i s the metaphysical j u s t i f i c a t i o n of a s i g n i f i c a n t physical perception as well as i t s essence — g i v e n , of course, that perception i s of such power as to make d i s t i n c t i o n s of "thought"'and "feeling"' irrelevant as 1 c f ¥ . K . Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley, "The Intentional Fallacy" 1, The Study of L i t e r a t u r e , ed. S. Barnet et a l (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown & Co., I960), pp. 197- 213. 2 Wallace Stevens, "Adagia"', Prose Keys to Modern Poetry, ed. K. Shapiro (New York: Harper & Row, 196277 p. 155. 3 From Stevens "A High-Toned Old Christian Woman", Poems by Wallace Stpypnc; (New York: Vintage, 1951*-), p. 26. -1+2-d i s t i n c t i o n s rather than formal elements. X Poetry and Contemplation The imagination for Heidegger i s the juncture of man and the world, and, as previously indicated, mediates their interpenetration. Through imagination, and p a r t i c u l a r l y through poetry man escapes solipsism, f o r to imagine he must give himself up to things. P a s s i v i t y i s not implied here, for this '"giving up"1 of one's self?, this "release-ment towards things"'} i s an act of the most d i f f i c u l t and strenuous kind: Scientist:: You speak without letup of a l e t -ting-be and give the impression that what i s meant i s a kind of p a s s i v i t y . A l l the same, I think I understand that i t i s in no vray a matter of weakly allowing things to s l i d e and d r i f t along. Scholar: Perhaps a higher acting i s concealed i n releasement than i s found i n a l l the actions within the world and i n the machinations of..-' mankind.2 The imagination discloses things-in-themselves.. As man taps his imagination p e e t i c a l l y he approaches these things in terms of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s he sees i n them for a new v i s i o n ; he cannot see these things or their p o s s i b i l i t i e s in terms of any banal preconception. To release himself, man cannot preconceive the s i t u a t i o n in terms of the sub-ject-object dichotomy, for i f Being centres i n man, i t 1 Martin Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, trans. J. M. Anderson and E.H . Freund (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 5»+. 2 Ibid., p. 61. J+3-does so i n a l l other things equally. To self-consciously r e s t r i c t oneself to a subjective role at the centre of an objective universe would be to deny, as i t were, the onto-l o g i c a l r i g h t s , i f not the essence of a l l other existents. To think imaginatively i s to accept the scholastic d e f i n i t i o n of absolute Being as the c i r c l e whose cirumference i s no-where and whose centre i s everywhere. 1 The essence of every thing i s a fundamental r e l a t i o n to Being i t s e l f ; -disclosed, the t h i n g - i n - i t s e l f i s always f i g u r a t i v e l y the centre of the universe. To think imaginatively i s to meditate upon the way i n which every thing i s centred in the universe*, thus, to meditate upon Being i t s e l f as i t engenders and expresses' i t s e l f i n p a r t i c u l a r s . Good poetry then i s very deceptive; i t i s not a game in our ordinary sense of the term; i t i s no t r i v i a l a c t i v i t y or sport, but a serious kind of play ^in which man is released from his subjective sense of himself as alienated from the r e a l . The stake for which man plays i s the au-th e n t i c i t y of his own being. Poetry looks l i k e a game and yet i t i s not. A game does indeed bring men together, but i n such a way that each forgets himself i n the 1 Noted in Georges Poulet, The Metamorphosis of the  C i r c l e , trans. C. Dawson and E. Colman (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), pp. x i - x x v i i . 2 Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, pp. -50-57. 3 cf. Johan Hu'izinga, Homo Ludens (Boston: Beacon Press, 1950), pp. 1-^5. -1+1+-process. In poetry on the other hand, man i s re-united on the foundation of his existence. There he comes to rest, not indeed to the seem-ing rest of i n a c t i v i t y and emptiness of thought, but to that i n f i n i t e state of rest in which a l l powers and relations are a c t i v e . 1 Laing, as I indicated, f e e l s that man's usual sense of himself i s "egoic", a limited and l i m i t i n g form of sub-jectivism. For Heidegger this form of consciousness i s a "forgetfulness" of human being as both subjective ( i n in d i v i d u a l r e l a t i o n to Being) and objective ( i n general r e l a t i o n to other beings or things)? When man releases himself towards things through the use of the poetic im-agination he regains contact with the r e a l in the sense that he rediscovers an authentic relationship with the the world. This state i s the truest form of thinking, i f thought can be taken i n i t s most general sense as a t o t a l organismic response.3 The poem becomes the mode and opportunity for an ex> perience "similar to, and not les s viable than any meta-physics. Stevens corroborates this when he writes, . . . i t i s misleading to speak of the depth or distance at which their integrations are found, or of the l e v e l or position of the mind of f e e l i n g s , i f the f a c t i s that they probe in di f f e r e n t spheres, they move about by means of di f f e r e n t motions. It may be said that the philo-sopher probes the sphere or spheres of percep-tion and that he moves about therein l i k e some-one intent on making sure of every foot of the way. If the poet moves about i n the same sphere 2 1 Heidegger, "Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry", p. 286. See Held egg er' sfrRis course' on .> Thinking. pp. 1+3-90. 3 cf . Langer, Mind, pp. 3-32. -^5-or spheres, and occasionally he may, he i s l i g h t -footed. He i s intent on what he sees and hears and the sense of the certainty of the presences about him i s as nothing to the presences them-selves. 1 Poetry and philsophy are d i f f e r e n t , but their interests can overlap. The essential difference i s that poetry i s not concerned with formulation, but form, not with any p r i n c i p l e of v e r i f i c a t i o n of things, but with the things themselves. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Stevens uses the word "presence" 1 to indicate the subject of poetry, for 2 Being i n Heidegger's scheme of things i s also "presence". A l l beings are "presences'"; and the act of the imagination, "re-presentation"". Insofar as th i s i s the case, and insofar as man i s "He who must affir m who he is'"3, poetry becomes one with any imaginative act by which man a r t i c u l a t e s the foundations of his existence. More than t h i s , poetry i s a supreme example of such articulation;: i t i s the art of authentic language, and language, "the most dangerous of a l l possessions"'", i s "that event which disposes of the supreme p o s s i b i l i t y of human existence".^ Poetry trans-cends l o g i c , simply because i t i s at once the "'supreme 1 Stevens, "A Collect of Philosophy" 1, p. 265. 2 See Heidegger's Discourse on Thinking, pp. 58-67. 3 Heidegger, "Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry"", p. 27^. Ibid., pp. 273-27^, 276-277. -1+6-f i c t i o n " " and an expression of an ultimate r e a l i t y . As Stevens says, the poet i s so intent upon the presence of things i n the world that he does not stop to wonder how he i s perceiving them:- he i s concerned with their p o s s i b i l i t y only. That which i s r e a l , and that from which the reader i s continually alienated by the s u p e r f i c i a l subjectivism neces-sary perhaps to ordinary l i v i n g , i s his own natural percep-tion of presences as things as poetic. That which appears freshly and v i v i d l y j u s t i f i e s i t s e l f q u a l i t a t i v e l y ; i t needs no external approval, no c e r t i f i c a t i o n i n terms of "empirical"' or "'objective" c r i t e r i a of v e r i f i a b i l i t y . "Let be be f i n a l e of seem"'1 i s an appropriate poetic motto: the r e a l i t y of a poem i s a l l that participates i n Being, either actual or possible within the scope of quotidian d e f i n i t i o n s . I am speaking obviously of a poetic of transcendence, and i t must be clear that such a poetic implies a dua l i t y of functions and structures i n a given poem. The poem always deals with something other than i t purports to deal with--and deals with i t as a presence not disruptive of that i n i t i a l purpose. In other words, the best poetry renders an experience in which we perceive some kind of "dual unity"2, two things at once, the one c l a r i f y i n g the other, and forming 1 Stevens,"The Emperor of Ice-Cream"', Poems by Wallace  Stevens, p. 28. 2 For the psychological analogues of this concept see, Geza Roheim, Magic and Schizophrenia, ed. W. Muensterberger and S.H. Posinsky (New York: International^Univecsities Press, 1955), PP. 5-83. -*7-with the other, one. This one, of course, i s inevitably part of another dual unity, and thus the poem functions as a Whiteheadean matrix of rel a t i o n s h i p s . The l o g i c of these relationships proves i t s e l f in terms of i t s own organic and f i n a l l y imaginative form according to the formula "Let be be f i n a l e of seem"'. Naturally enough, a l l poetry involves some kind of metaphor, even i f this metaphor i s only implied, f o r the essence of metaphor i s dual-unity of a primary f i g u r a t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p : which i s to say that the imagination works metaphorically. Such a d e f i n i t i o n i s general, i f not t r u i s t i c to be sure, but i s so obvious as to be easily forgotten. The essence of poetic transcendence i s always f i g u r a t i v e . To ex-ist means to , rstand out"' (ex-sis tere)', and that whiefctastandsiout does so only i n terms of something else. The fundamental l o g i c of existence i s analogy. To transcend the ordinary dualisms which d i r e c t banian l i f e , poetry cannot afford to forget this simple onto-l o g i c a l f a c t , and by i t s recognition of i t , takes i t s reader demonically where most philosophers fear to tread. -J+8-CHAPTER II POETRY AS WORLD AND' EARTH In my f i r s t chapter I insisted that poetry consti-tuted an objective r e a l i t y which i s i n i t s own fashion a p r i o r i to the "'practical" r e a l i t y of everyday consi-derations and conceptions. However, I implied that this H p r i o r i r e a l i t y could only be understood i n terms of subjective experience; hence, could vary from person to person, and from time to time. I j u s t i f i e d the apparent anomaly of this s i t u a t i o n by defining a p r i o r i truth i n Heidegger's terms as a f i g u r a t i o n of pure Presence.. In rejecting therefore the Ar i s t o t l e a n notion of truth as preposi t i o n a l correctness, I asserted that the primacy of a truth was function of the q u a l i t y of i t s presentation. By defining such presentation i n terms of imaginative ex-pression, I further speculated that the objective i s not to be understood except i n the subjective, and vice versa insofar as each predicates the other o n t o l o g i c a l l y . A l l truth r e l a t i o n s , I said, are exactly that — i n essence, r e l a t i o n s , not discriminations following upon them. And inasmuch as this i s the case one's experience of a p r i o r i truth i s an experience of beauty, i . e . , of the r e l a t i o n a l wholeness of the universe. I have s t i l l not explained, however, the "daemonic"' aspect of poetry, i f indeed poetry can be conceived of i n this way as capable of possessing the mind l i k e madness or - i f C j -dream. Missing from my analysis are dimension of poetic experience necessary to the proper explication of such a conception. What i s the mechanism of poetic possession?" What necessitates the convention which Coleridge c a l l e d " w i l l i n g suspension of d i s b e l i e f " ^ and which John Keats i n a more pa r t i c u l a r i z e d sense called "negative c a p a b i l i t y " 2 ? I The Problem of Nature and Culture: Heidegger's Temple To more f u l l y deal with the "demonic"1 i n poetic ex-perience I must f i r s t make a d i s t i n c t i o n between nature and culture as the functional poles of a l l human experience whether subjective or objective. In making this d i s t i n c t i o n , however, I must stress that i t _is indeed functional, and therefore a r b i t r a r y at best. A simple general d e f i n i t i o n of the terms might be to say that culture i s what man makes of the world whereas nature i s that from which the world i s made. But even th i s simple assertion i s ambiguous since I can never be sure that man i s making or being made by the world. This problem of d e f i n i t i o n notwithstanding, culture and nature are c l e a r l y 1 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia L i t e r a r i a . ed. George Watson (London: Dent, 1956), p. 169. 2 Keats defines "negative c a p a b i l i t y " as follows? "Negative Capability, that i s , when a man i s capable of being i n uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any i r r i t a b l e reaching aft e r f a c t and reason", Selected Poetry  and Letters, ed. R.H. Fogle (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968), o. 304. -50-the most s i g n i f i c a n t poles of a l l human a c t i v i t i e s from the most elementary of tasks to the sublimest a r t . Inasmuch as the poetic experience i s a fundamental, i f demonic expression of the basic mode of human existence, one might reasonably expect that i t presents a ubiquitous r e l a t i o n -ship of culture and nature i n some way ind i c a t i v e of their basic meaning. While the poetic experience transcends ordinary experience, i t occurs, at least i n i t i a l l y , within i t s l i m i t s . The demonism of poetry therefore i s l i k e l y to be pre-defined to some extent by whatever i t i s that con-s t i t u t e s the re l a t i o n s of culture and nature manifest in ordinary l i f e . What i s needed here i s a precise and speci-f i c d e f i n i t i o n of culture and nature applying to the i r r e l a t i o n s in both ordinary circumstances and the unique s i t u a t i o n which i s the end of poetic experience. Such a d e f i n i t i o n i s d i f f i c u l t , but not perhaps impossible . The clue to this d e f i n i t i o n i s inherent i n my f i r s t simple statement wherein I define nature and culture i n terms of the "making"' of a world. The notion derives from Heidegger's antimony of the "earth"' (the natural "matter" of Being) and the "world" (the human "content"' of Being) as . i t i s expressed in his parable of the Greek temple: A building, a Greek temple copies nothing. It simply stands there i n the middle of the rock-c l e f t v a l l e y . The building encloses the figure of the god and, i n this concealment, i t l e t s i t stand out i n the holy precinct through the holy -51-portico. It i s by means of the temple that the god i s present i n the temple. This presence of the god i s i t s e l f the d i f f u s i o n and d e l i m i t a t i o n of the precinct as a holy one. The temple and i t s precinct, however, do not soar off into the in-, d e f i n i t e . It i s the temple work that f i r s t f i t s together and at the same time assembles around i t s e l f the unity of those paths and r e l a t i o n s in which b i r t h and death, disaster and blessing, v i c t o r y and disgrace, endurance and decline take on for the human being the shape of his destiny. The all-governing expanse of t h i s open r e l a t i o n a l context i s the world of this h i s t o r i c a l people. From and i n this world the nation f i r s t returns to i t s e l f for the fu l f i l m e n t of i t s vocation. Standing there, the building rests on the rocky ground.. This resting of the work draws up out of the rock the mystery of i t s support, the unyielding and yet undirected. Standing there, the building withstands the storm raging above i t and so f i r s t makes the storm i t s e l f manifest i n •its;.,violences The l u s t e r and gleam of stone, glowing by grace of the sun, f i r s t makes manifest the l i g h t of the day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of the night. The tem-ple's firm towering makes v i s i b l e the i n v i s i b l e space of a i r . The steadfastness of the work contrasts with the weaving of the flowing sea', and i t s own repose brings out the l a t t e r ' s tur-moil. Tree and grass, eagle and b u l l , snake and c r i c k e t f i r s t enter into their contrasting shape and thus come-.to appear as that which they are. The Greeks early call e d this appearing and d i s -appearing both i t s e l f and as a whole ^vocs [jphysis]. It illuminates, also, that on which and i n which man bases his dwelling. We c a l l t his ground the earth. This i s not to be associated with the idea of a mass of matter deposited somewhere or even with the merely astronomical idea of a planet. Earth i s that whence the a r i s i n g of everything that a r i s e s , and indeed as such, returns to i t s security (zuruckbirgt). In the things that a r i s e , earth i s present as the securing agent (das Bergende).... Towering-up-within-itself- 1 the work discloses a world and keeps this world in a r u l i n g p o s i t i o n .••.World i s not a mere c o l l e c t i o n of countable or uncountable, f a m i l i a r or unfamiliar things that are merely present-at-hand. But also world i s not a merely imagined framework added to the sum of such given things. World worlds (Welt weltet) -52-and i s something that is_ to a greater degree than the tangible and perceptible realm in which we believe ourselves to be at home. World i s never an object that stands before us and can be beheld. World i s the ever un-objective realm that shelters us as long as the paths of b i r t h and death, blessing and curse keep us exposed to be-ing. Wherever the essential decisions of our history are made, are taken up and abandoned by us, mistaken and re-examined, there the world worlds. A stone i s worldless. Plant and animal equally have no world; but they belong to the hidden pressure of the environment with which <• they f a l l . On the other hand the peasant woman has a world because she dwells i n the openness of that which i s . 1 The "earth"' i s not a "mass of master"', but the essence of a l l matter. It is not a s t a t i c entity, but a condition f o r a p a r t i c u l a r state of being which approximates that state which I mean-when I use the word "nature" 2, i . e . , the primordial world. The '"earth"' therefore i s not a s p e c i f i c thing; i t i s a quality of o r i g i n a l and untransformed Tthing-ness" which defines things as. "given"' rather than i n t e l l i -g i bly determinate. '"Nature"' in this sense of "'earth'" i s a source, but not the source of human meanings as such.^ In f a c t , '"nature"' conceals i t s meaning, f o r i t s fundamental function i s a-human. Insofar as "nature-as-earth"' i s a-human, however, i t i s not susceptible to human c o n t r o l — o r error-r and forms a firm and secure ground for human being. 1 Martin Heidegger, "The Origin of the Art Work"', Philosophies of Art and Beauty, ed. A. Hofstadter and R. Kuhns (New Work: Modern Library, 196*f), pp. 669-772. 2 N.B.. The Greek word "physis" does not correspond i n meaning to the L a t i n t r a n s l a t i o n of i t as "hatura" or "'nature". See,. R.A. Nisbet, Social Change and History (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 15-29. 3 Hereafter I s h a l l use quotation marks to indicate the spec i a l sense in which the terms "nature"', "culture", "world , and "'earth'" are being used. - 5 3 -The "earth"' i s mysterious, and cannot be anything but that. It l i t t l e matters that natural science continually reveals the mysteries of nature; Heisenberg's p r i n c i p l e applies: the act of observation irremediably changes what i s observed. Hence, science cannot solve the fundamental mystery of "nature", i t only gives p a r t i c u l a r aspects of "nature"' a human content by transmuting them to human ends. Since "nature" i s not a thing, i t can give of i t s e l f endlessly without being discovered; i t i s a dependable mystery; i t i s the source of a l l creativeness even i f i t i s not the source of a l l meanings. In thi s sense the symbol of "earth"" i s fundamentally appropriate; i t implies what i s given, ever diverse and inpenetrable. Yet, at the same time, i t i s that which supports a l l human endeavour, and through i t s r e s i s -tance spurs man to greater e f f o r t . "Nature"' i n this context i s pure a c t u a l i t y , the ground against which a l l human pos-s i b i l i t y must appear i f i t is to appear at a l l * . I f the temple could not stand but for the physical and metaphysical presence of "nature"' or "earth"', this condition only has being as that "Towering-up-within-itself which discloses a world"1, and therefore i s as dependent upon the temple as the temple i s upon i t . The "world"' in Heidegger's scheme i s not a thing any more than the "earth"' or "nature" i s a thing. Like "earth" 1 i t i s a condition f o r a p a r t i c u l a r state of being, a quality of "thingness"', a sum greater than i t s parts. This '"thingness" - 5 W which the "world" defines, however, i s o r i g i n a l , but not given; i t i s a transformation of the given. The "world" i s "culture"' insofar as i t i s what we make of the "earth-as-nature"; i t i s the import which man gives to the brute f a c t of existence, i t s "nature"'. It follows reasonably that no c u l t u r a l thing owes i t s existence to the "world"', but to the "earth" !. The temple stands upon the ground; i t i s made of the materials of the "earth", and cannot stand by i t s e l f . Insofar a's the essence of the "world-as-culture" i s pure content i n a sense which I s h a l l define more c l e a r l y l a t e r , the "world"' gives to the objects which i t claims essence rather than existence. In Heidegger's scheme the essence of a thing cannot be other than i t s human import determinate through c u l t u r a l means. What I c a l l "'culture"' therefore i s what i s in the broad-est sense" discernable as the immediate significance of my existence. This "truth" need not be a prepositional s i g n i -ficance; i t i s any discrimination which establishes, or i s part of an "open r e l a t i o n a l context"; that i s , i t is any discrimination which defines the world i n terms of human p o s s i b i l i t i e s . "Culture" i s h i s t o r i c a l ; i t i s a complex sequence of human decisions and human events, not a simple process of development. Heidegger"s use of the word "open-ness" i s of consequence here, for "culture" 1 cannot be under-stood except as the endeavour of man to clear a living-space in the wilderness of primordial being; that i s , man seeks -55-to make an extra-natural world in which the simple what-is, basic to both "world"1 and "earth"' w i l l be disclosed. "Culture" 1 i s "open" insofar as i t provides a setting for a humanly viable understanding of our existence i n the most basic way. And, insofar as our "culture" or "world"' succeeds in this attempt, i t i s a source of a s i g n i f i c a n t "truth". "Culture" 1'is the "world which worlds" only because i t reveals the truth of what-is; i t i s the construction of a consciousness of essences., II The "Riss" Any work of man, indeed man himself, i s a consequence of the struggle and dependence of "world" and "earth", " c u l -t u r e " and "nature"'. To the extent that neither opposite exists solely as a thing, such things as man can discriminate belong to both realms simultaneously; each thing which he perceives, be i t the temple i t s e l f or a blade of grass i s revealed and hidden at the same time. This ambient process i s the fundamental process of what I previously called "figuration";- every figure both reveals and hides i t s ground, and by the same token i s revealed and hidden by that ground. "Truth", as Heidegger says, " i s un-truth". 1 The "openness" of the 'Hsrorld" i s delimited by the closed-1 "The Origin of the Art Work", p. 679. -56-ness of the "earth""'which i t v i o l a t e s . Yet nothing could have essential being without t h i s antagonism or " r i s s " , that i s , "rift-design"':' World demands i t s determination and i t s meas-ure^ and l e t s what i s a t t a i n to the Open of i t s path. Earth aspires, bearing-towering, to keep i t s e l f closed and to entrust everything to i t s law.. The c o n f l i c t i s not a r i f t (Riss) as the ripping open of a mere c l e f t ; rather, i t i s the intimacy of opponents that belong to each other. The r i f t draws ( r e i s s t ) the opponents together into the source of their unity out of the single ground. It i s the-ground*plan (Grundriss). It i s an elevation (Auf-riss) that draws the basic features of the r i s i n g up of the l i g h t i n g of what is. This r i f t does not l e t the opponents break apart;- i t brings the opposition of measure and l i m i t into the single boundary (Umriss).l What I see as a thing, subjective or objective i s defined by the interplay of both " c u l t u r e " and "nature"'; by my a b i l i t y to measure the world, and by the world's capacity to l i m i t that measuring. Hence, The c o n f l i c t that i s brought into the r i f t and thus set back into the earth and thus established, i s a figure-, (G'estalt). Createdness of the work meansr establishment of truth i n the f i g u r e . F i -gure i s the structure in the shape of which the r i f t ^ d i s p o s e s i t s e l f . This ordered r i f t i s the f i t t i n g 6f joining of truth. What i s here called figure (Gestalt) i s always to be thought i n terms of the p a r t i c u l a r placing (Stellen) and framing 2 or ordering (Gestell) as which the work i s present.... When I said that the thing which i s defined by the " r i s s " 1 could be either subjective or objective, I meant exactly 1 Heidegger, "The Origin of the Art Work"', p. 686 2 Ibid.. p. 689. -57-that: anything which presents i t s e l f to the mind i s r e a l to the degree that i t i s defined f i g u r a t i v e l y , and not to the degree that i t i s defined by a c t u a l i t y . A purely subjective notion l i k e the concept of a god may be as "natural"' as a tree or a stone insofar as i t s resolution, as t h e i r s , i s dependent upon the opposition or " r i s s " ' of "nature"' and "culture"'. Furthermore, i t must be apparent that gestalt i s not s t a t i c , except as i t ex-h i b i t s the structure of a dynamic. The temple of which Heidegger speaks has form, but i t i s a form which i s per-ceived processally as a "physis", a continuum of appearance and disappearance, revelation and concealment whose " f i n a l cause" 1 i s a discrete conception of the work i t s e l f , i f not of the nature of man. The obvious question at t h i s point i s : are a l l things equal i n truth to the extent that they are defined i n the manner described previously; that i s , i n terms of the " r i s s " of "world"' and "earth"? The answer i s c l e a r l y "yes"', but t h i s affirmation does not mean that any random thought or perception can embody a truth. On the contrary, the " r i s s " i s only apparent i n special circumstances according to ex-acting p r i n c i p l e s . Quotidian existence, Heidegger empha-sizes, i s means-oriented or "equipmental"'. To manipulate 1 2 See Nisbet, pp. 15-29. "The Origin of the Art Work"', p. 688, pp.. 650-667 - 5 8 -things, "natural"'>©r "cultural"', man must f i r s t divest them of their fundamental being, for to recognize that being would be to admit the insoluble "riss""'which stands for the source of a l l the problems, as well as the pleasures of ordinary subsistence. Man must presume that success i s always accessible through a proprietous choice of means, and hence he allows things character only insofar as they are useful to him. It follows that he does not truly apprehend the thing-i n - i t s e l f according to i t s incarnate manner of being, but only as the purpose which i t represents. Driving a car, for instance, i s a matter of automatic responses and these responses i n turn depend upon forgetfulness of the d i s t i n c t i v e and autonomous essence of the car i t s e l f as an object with p o s s i b i l i t i e s of human intention. Characteristic of ordinary l i f e i s a tendency to l i m i t consciousness in terms of part-i c u l a r tasks: thus, to proceed i n ignorance of the "world"' in which human purposes originate as well as the "'earth" tox>rards which these purposes are directed. I therefore tend to perceive intentions: not, as Huaserl would have i t , the "intentional a r c " . 1 The mind encloses i t s e l f in an a t t r i b u t e of the being to which i t belongs, comprehending ultimate r e a l i t y as unreachable except i n a r t , madness, and dream." There, the mind i s possessed i r r a t i o n a l l y and ap-1 c f . Aron Gurwitsch, "'On the Intentionality of Conscious-ness", Phenomenology: The Philosophy of Edmund Husserl and i t s  Interpretations. ed. J.J. Kockelmans- (New York: Doubleday, 1967), pp. 118-136. -59-parently unreally by things embodying a truth which does not y i e l d to ordinary conception. The fact of the matter i s not that the "truth"' of a r t , madness, and dreams i s i r r a t i o n a l or u n r e a l — n o t ey;en that i t i s i l l o g i c a l — b u t that i t belongs to a d i f f e r e n t sphere of being primary to the one i n which a given man o r d i n a r i l y e x i s t s . This realm i s o r i g i n a l being, the valley i n which the temple stands i n dynamic r e l a t i o n to i t s ground. Heidegger writes, The more i s o l a t e d l y the work, established in the fi g u r e , stands in i t s e l f and the more purely i t seems to dissolve a l l connections with human be-ings, the more simply does the thfcust, that such a work _is, move into the Open....the more simply does i t transport us out of the realm of the or-dinary. To go through this displacement means: to change one's customary relations to world and earth and thenceforth to i n h i b i t a l l usual doing and p r i z i n g , knowing and looking, i n order to l i n g e r i n the truth that i s happening i n the work. The r e s t r a i n t of this l i n g e r i n g f i r s t l e t s what i s created be the work that i s . This l e t t i n g the work be a work we c a l l the preserv-ing (Bewahrung) of the work. It i s only for such preservation that the work f i r s t y i e l d s i t s e l f i n i t s createdness as actual, i . e . now: present in the manner of a work. As l i t t l e as< a work needs creators, so l i t t l e can the created i t s e l f be-come an entity without preservers. 1 Plato, as I noted, saw the poetic experience i n terms of a demon mediating between the gods and men. In practice the demon mediates between the p o s s i b i l i t y and the a c t u a l i t y of human existence. Heidegger's symbol of the temple i s appropriate i n this respect, for while the temple i s the 1 "The Origin of the Art Work"', pp. 688-689. -60-precinct of the gods, i . e . , of ideal or ultimate p o s s i b i l i t y , i t i s constructed from brute matter. This balance of ultimates i s an epiphany which d i s -solves man's connection with his ordinary mode of being. Truth "happens"' in this work irrespective of ordinary pre-d i l e c t i o n s . The categories of thought by which the mind structures an ordinary r e a l i t y no longer apply, and the perceiver of the work i s constrained to accept or reject this "happening"'. If he accepts the "happening" as i t i s i n i t s e l f , he must accept structures of r e a l i t y which con-t r a d i c t those by which he understands himself. As Heidegger says, "thi s displacement means: to change one's customary rela t i o n s to world and earth"'. "'Culture"'i.and "nature" are constituted anew insofar as the " r i s s " which i s their i n t e r -penetration i s allowed to be. To l e t the " r i s s " ' be the art work's appreciator must become a servant of i t , a "preserver"' i n the same sense that the p r i e s t s of the tem-ple are preservers. He does not exist i n this context for himself alone, although he exists by himself alone with the work. In Stevens' words, he must, . . . r e a l i z e in the same way i n which an escape from a l l our l i m i t a t i o n s would make us r e a l i z e that we are creatures, not a part, which i s our everyday l i m i t a t i o n , but of a whole for which, for the most part, we have as yet no language. 1 The "work" art i s truly work, fo r to apprehend i t ; i t s 1 "A Collect of Philosophy", p. 264. -61-appreciator must tend i t . In struggling to make the work "work"', the appreciator becomes part of the same " r i s s " which i t expresses. Thus, i n d i r e c t l y the appreciator of the work of art rea l i z e s his own being as primordial p o s s i b i l i t y , grounding i t securely i n his r e l a t i o n with the work. Insofar as the work i s material, unlike madness or dreams, i t s "truth"' has an authenticity and a s u b s t a n t i a l i t y which transcends the merely in d i v i d u a l or subjective. In this sense, the aesthe-t i c experience, while demonic, cannot be dismissed by quo-t i d i a n conception: i t i s in a l l dimensions of existence be-cause i t asserts those conditions which predicate fundamental existence i n general. I IT Heidegger, Olson, and the "Open" The multi-dimensional aspect of the art work's exis-tence i s , of course, not innate in the matter of the art-work, but i n the relationship by which the art work i s understood as poetry. As Heidegger says, A l l a r t , as the letting-happen of the advent of truth of what i s , i s , as such, e s s e n t i a l l y • poetry (Dichtung)T^ What he means here by "poetry" 1 i s complex, for he uses the word both i n i t s general sense as "'creative language", i . e . , a l l the s i g n i f i c a t i o n s of a r t , l i n g u i s t i c and non-l i n g u i s t i c , 1 "The Origin of the Art Work", p. 693 -62-and i n i t s more pa r t i c u l a r i z e d sense as"essential language", i . e . , a l l verse. His .^general concept of poetry i s ar t i c u l a t e d as f o l -lows; Poetry...is no aimless imagining of the arbit r a r y and no f l i g h t of mere ideation and imagination into the unreal. What poetry, as illuminating projection toward unconcealment, unfolds and casts ahead into the r i f t - d e s i g n ( r i s s ) of the figur e , i s the Open that i t l e t s happen, and i n -deed i n such a way that now for the f i r s t time, i n the midst of what Is to l i g h t and sound.- In our essence-vision of the essence of the work and i t s connection with the happening of the truth of what i s , i t becomes questionable whether the essence of poetry, and thi s means at the same time the essence of projection, can be adequately thought from the angle of imagination.1 No contradiction i s involved i n Heidegger's l a s t comment that i t i s questionable whether the essence of poetry "can be adequately thought from the angle of imagination". What Heidegger means i s that the imagination must transcend i t -s e l f i f the essence of poetry i s to be thought. The imagi-nation i s a necessary function of ordinary mental process wherein i t works within prescribed l i m i t s . The work of art demands the imagination transcend these l i m i t s ; the essence of poetry demands an act of imagination which i s primary o n t o l o g i c a l l y . Poetic imagination i n this sense i s equiva-lent to Coleridge's "primary imagination"": i t can be neither ar b i t r a r y nor f a n c i f u l , 2 f o r i t deals with the primordial truth of what i s . 1 "The Origin of the Art Work"", p. 69*+. 2 See Biographia L i t e r a r i a , p. 167. -63-The question of imaginative function w i l l be clearer l a t e r . For the moment i t i s more pertinent to note the closeness of Heidegger's terms to those of Charles Olson. Both Heidegger and Olson i n s i s t that poetry must "project"' an "'open f i e l d ": in which the truth of existence w i l l "hap-pen" spontaneously and, i n that sense, o r i g i n a l l y . The correspondency between the theories of the two thinkers i s i n d i c a t i v e of matters fundamental to the concept of poetry i n i t s several senses,and ought not to be ignored. Nov; Olson writes,,of poetry and the poet, . . . i t involves a series of new recognitions. From the moment he ventures into FIELD COMBO* SITION—put himself in the open—he can go by no track other than the one the poem under hand de-clares, for i t s e l f . Thus he has to behave, and be, instant by instant,aware of several forces just now beginning to be examined. 1 The poet must ...f i n d ways to stay in the human universe, and not be led to p a r t i t i o n r e a l i t y at any point, i n any way.^ Olson writes s p e c i f i c a l l y of a technique of poetry;- his point of view i s that of the p r a c t i c i n g poet. Yet, his terms of reference are very general, and amount to a doc-tri n e of e x i s t e n t i a l knowledge. The point of " f i e l d com-p o s i t i o n " i s to put the poet " i n the open", "the open" being an "unpartitioned r e a l i t y " l i k e that which Heidegger's 1 Charles Olson, "Projective Verse", Charles Olson: Selected Writings, ed. R. Creeley (New Ybrkr New Directions 1966), p. 16. 2 "Human Universe", p. % , -6>+-aesthetic "preserver" 1 encounters and maintains. The poet therefore i s equivalent i n the act of creation to the reader insofar as the essence of each r o l e inheres in the work; as Heidegger says, "the nature of creation i s determined by the nature of the work". 1 Anomalous as i t may seem, the actual work of art i s an act of truth a p r i o r i to both creator and preserver, "ho aimless imagining of the a r b i t r a r y and no f l i g h t of mere ideation into the un-r e a l " , but an "illuminating projection"', a "'series of new recognitions"' of the formerly concealed r e a l i t s e l f . I believe i n Truth.1 (Wahrheit) My sense i s that beauty (Schonheit) better stay i n the thing i t -s e l f : das Ding....2 writes Olson, revealing c l e a r l y his committment to the concept of poetry as an ultimate revelation. Olson cannot speak of the technique of poetry without r e f e r r i n g the whole matter back to a general, i f not meta-physical concept of the p o e t i c In this respect he concurs with Heidegger who cannot define the concept of metaphysical truth without p a r t i c u l a r i z i n g the issue in terms of the poetic. A l l works of art are at a general l e v e l of being, p o e t i c a l l y conceived truths i f we understand poetry to mean in a broader sense than "creative language"' or "essential lan-guage", the language of the imagination. As I stressed 1 "The Origin of the Art Work"', p. 683. 2 "Letter to Elaine Feinsteing"", p. 27. -65-e a r l i e r , the imagination i s the faculty i n which truth i s formed although that truth needs to be formulated in l a n -guage i f i t i s to have a substantive meaning. Language in which the imagination operates i n i t s purest form i s , whatever i t s conventional d e f i n i t i o n , poetry: this i s the general concept of poetry. Both Heidegger and Olson, however, are constrained to define poetry in a more pa r t i c u l a r i z e d way. Heidegger, as I noted, regards poetry in a p a r t i c u l a r sense as "essential language":this i s implied i n his comment that " i t becomes questionable whether the essence of poetry...the essence of projection, can be adequately thought from the angle of imagination". "Projection"' i s the manner by which the imagination makes truth happen i n the art work; i t i s the image in which the " r i s s " of "culture"' and "'nature" stands out. But the image finds i t s clearest d e f i n i t i o n and res-olution in terms of the word. Unable to leave poetry at a general l e v e l of d e f i n i -t i o n , both Olson and Heidegger seeks i t s essence in the forms of language by which i t i s projected. Heidegger writes, ...poesy i s only one mode of the l i g h t i n g pro-j e c t i o n of truth, i . e . , of poetic composition i n the wider sense. Nevertheless, the l i n g u i s t i c work, the poem in the narrower sense, has a p r i v -ileged position amon the a r t s . l 1 "The Origin of the Art Work"', p. 69"+ -66-Olson avoids onnnecting poetry with the other a r t s ; he prefers instead to deal with i t s " p r i m i t i v e - a b s t r a c t " 1 connection with general truth. Heidegger, however, grants poetry, "poesy" i n the narrower sense, status in r e l a t i o n to other art s . In establishing the r e l a t i o n he develops a theory of language: To see this Cthe p r i v i l e g e d position of poesyj, only a correct concept of language i s needed. On the usual view language i s held to be a kind of communication. It serves for conversation and mutual understanding, generally for coming to agreement. But language i s not only and not primarily audible and written expression of some-thing to be communicated. It not only furthers the advancement of the overt and the covert as thus meant in words and statements, but language brings what i s into the Open fo r the f i r s t time. Where there i s no language as i n the being of stone, plant, and animal, there i s also no open-ness of what _is and consequently no openness of that which jis not and of the empty.2 Language must always be for man the essence of imagination, f o r without i t he cannot imagine as a man. Hence, every defined image i s also e x p l i c i t l y as i n poetry, or i m p l i c i t l y as in the non- l i n g u i s t i c a r t s , a s c h e m a 3 . This version of the Whorfian Hypothesis i s im-p l i e d also i n Olson's t r i f u r e a t i o n of the image as "topos/typos/tropos" 3*. That i s , every poetic image 1 See his "Letter to Elaine Feinstein", pp. 27 - 3 0 . 2 "The Origin of the Art Work"', p. 69"+. 3 See Heidegger's Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, pp. 94 - 1 1 3 . !+ "Letter to Elaine Feinstein!', p. 29. -67-unifaes a p a r t i c u l a r i z e d figure (typosT with a more general-ized ground (topos) and through this u n i f i c a t i o n creates a metaphor Ctropos) which i s also an abstraction implying the schema of i t s self-conception. The concomitants of this notion are dealt with i n "The Origin of the Art Work"': As language names what is for the f i r s t time, such naming f i r s t brings what jLs to word and to appearance. This naming nominates what Is to i t s being from out of i t s being. Such speech ('Sagen) i s a projecting of l i g h t i n g . . . .Project-ing i s the release of a throw or a cast by which unconcealment di r e c t s (schickt) i t s e l f into what i s as such. This projective announcement f o r t h -with becomes a reununciation of a l l the obscure gloom i n which what i s wraps and withdraws i t s e l f . Projective speech i s poetry; the saga of world and earth; the saga of the space of their c o n f l i c t and therewith of the place of a l l nearness and remoteness,-of the gods... .Actual language at any given moment i s the happening of this speech, in which for a folk i t s world h i s t o r i c a l l y r i s e s and the earth i s preserved as that which i s closed up. Projective speech i s speech which i n pre-paring the sayable simultaneously brings the un-sayable into the world. In such saying, the concepts of an h i s t o r i c a l folk's essence, i . e . , of i t s belonging to world-history, are performed for that folk....But since language i s the hap-pening i n which for man at any time what jls f i r s t discloses i t s e l f as being, poesy, or poetry i n the narrower sense, i s the most o r i g i n a l form of poetry in the essential sense. Language i s not poetry because i t i s primal poesy; rather, poesy makes i t s advent i n language because language preserves the o r i g i n a l essence of poetry.1 Poetry i n the p a r t i c u l a r sense of "poesy"' i s not primal language; primal language i s poetry in the general sense of projective speech. This d i s t i n c t i o n is highly important 1 Heidegger, p. 695* -68-here, for "poesy"' must be understood as a language form, a l b e i t the most o r i g i n a l of such forms, which appears against and from out the body of actual language as the fundamental dynamic of ontological f i g u r a t i o n . Between "poesy"' and language the antagonism of "world" and "earth" manifests i t s e l f i n the purest manner. Whereas language i s a "world"',it can also be an "earth"'. As the ground of a l l poetry i t must conceal i t s e l f ; only i n rendering i t s e l f i n v i s i b l e through language can language make the r e a l i t y of what i s stand f o r t h as primary rather than merely sym-bo l i c r e a l i t y . Insofar as "poesy" or verse i s the most fundamental form of f i g u r a t i o n possible l i n g u i s t i c a l l y - -and i t cannot be denied i t i s the most self-concerned of l i n g u i s t i c f o r m s — i t presents and expresses the " r i s s " or r i f t - d e s i g n i n which "culture" and "nature"' make what i s called man. "Poesy", with i t s concern for l i n g u i s t i c innovation, reveals'what i s hidden i n the ordinary modes of language by which onej-keeps the world and oneself at a tech n i c a l l y advantagous remove. Thus, of a l l art forms, "poesy" can-claim a p r i o r i t y ; in i t , the ultimate or a p r i o r i conditions of our existence appear most e s s e n t i a l l y . A l l "poesy" which achieves the greatness which only generations, i f not centuries of c r i -t icism, appreciation, and f i n a l l y "preservation" can bes-tow? i s the "saga of world and earth", the p o s s i b i l i t y and -69-a c t u a l i t y implied in these terms, and i n man's sense of the a c c e s s i b i l i t y of the i d e a l : "the nearness and the remoteness of the gods"1. Poetry - i n the most p a r t i c u l a r i z e d sense of the word i s , as Heidegger says, the establishment of human history i n a l l i t s complexity by means of the word XV Poetry as a "Physis" What the demonics of poetic experience establish are c l e a r l y the t o t a l relationship of man, subjective and objec t i v e , i n d i v i d u a l and c o l l e c t i v e , with the opposing p r i n c i p l constituting his peculiar condition as a conscious being. The creation and "preservation" of this "open r e l a t i o n a l context"' i s h i s t o r i c a l both i n the sense of i t s v i a b i l i t y in a l l temporal dimension's, and in terms of i t s profound influence on human destiny. In the poetic experience man i s constrained only to be free, and i f he agrees to this constraint, and i f the work i t s e l f i s agreeable to his desire, he reconstitutes the world according to wholly o r i g i n a l categories of mind. H i s t o r i c a l l y , the poetic work i s t r u l y a "physis" 1, a development of mind i n which either the germinative power of restoration or revolution may abide. A- poetic work transcends the logos of which i t i s ostensibly; a part, and i t i s thus, i n the words of Gaston Bachelard, "referable to a d i r e c t ontology". 1 1 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. M. Jolas (New York: Orion Press, 1964*7, p. x i i . -70-The whole that i s each poetic event transcends the h i s -t o r i c i t y of i t s in d i v i d u a l parts. Hence, while history and t r a d i t i o n supply the means by which poetry is com-posed, they do not pre-determine the end of that com-posi t i o n which stands out from the h i s t o r i c a l pattern to which i t belongs. The reader cannot discover the hi s -tory-founding attributes of a poem in the s o c i a l context of which i t i s a s p e c i f i c product, i n the tra d i t i o n s or conventions which i t i m p l i c i t l y or e x p l i c i t l y uses, i n the biography or putative psychology of i t s creator:- these, and a l l similar approaches are points of departure for a discovery of what makes the work a unique event. History i s a series of unique acts of mind, events (e-vent= ex-venere= to stand forth) in which human p o s s i b i l i t y stands forth.> Such events precede the a c t u a l i t y of s o c i a l or personal revolutions or evolutions. As R.A. Nisbet has written, Change i s , however, not "natural"', not normal, much less ubiquitous or constant. F i x i t y i s . If we abandon metaphor and the constructed so-c i a l systems to which metaphor i s applied, and look at actual s o c i a l behavior, i n place and time, we find over and over that persistence in time i s the f a r more common condition of things.1 What i s amazing about mankind i s that change, and there-fore history occurs at a l l . The second f a l l of man i s the quotidian, that world of routine, habit, and meaningless chit-chat i n which man seeks the security which properly 1 Social Change and History, p. 270 -71-belongs to the "'earth'". In achieving this natural objective, man must f o r f e i t dwelling in the world as a c u l t u r a l l y conscious subject:-he must forgo*., the humanizing influence of myth, mysticism, emotion, and creative thought. Naturally, no society, and no man could long exist i n thi s state. The obvious corrective i s o r i g i n a l and or i g i n a t i v e thought, i . e . , that which brings about the poetic events by which man finds his place between earth and sky, indwelling i n the "world"' and on the "earth"'. William Carlos Williams puts t h i s proposition as follows, ...we are beginning to discover the truth that i n great works of the imagination A CREATIVE FORCE IS SHOW AT WORK MAKING OBJECTS WHICH Aw LONE COMPLETE SCIENCE AND ALLOW INTELLIGENCE TO SURVIVE TO ESCAPE ILLUSION and stand be-tween man and nature as saints once stood between man and s k y — t h e i r r e a l i t y in such work. Poetry, as S i r P h i l i p noted centuries ago, i s not a l i e ; 2 nor i s i t i n any fundamental way, i l l u s o r y . I t s demonics represent new structures of truth, and accordingly those new p r i n c i p l e s of thinking by which man remains a l i v e as man. If the poetic demon had a voice outside of poetry, he would probably say with Charles Olson, As the dead prey upon us, they are the dead i n ourselves, awake my sleeping one, I cry out to you, disentangle the nets of being.3 1 William Carlos Williams, "Spring and Al l " ' , William  Carlos Williams, ed. J. H i l l i s M i l l e r (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J..: Prentice-Hall, 1966), p. 2 0 . 2 See, S i r P h i l i p Sidney, "An Apology f o r Poetry"', The  Major C r i t i c s , ed. Holmes, Russel and Fraser (New Yorkr Knopf, 1 9 5 7 ) , pp. "+6-70. 3 "As the Dead Prey Upon Us";, Twentieth Century Poetry and. Eoetlos > P* 275» -72-V Language and '.World" My agreement with the preceding sentiment i s obviously predicated by my acceptance of Heidegger's transcendental dualism of "world"' and "earth" :, and his theory of language. Heidegger, however, i s not a l i n g u i s t , and does not deal with the problem of language as precisely as he might were he one. I must look elsewhere for a clearer exposition of the c r u c i a l issue of the actual way i n which language functions as a transcendental agent;- i t i s not enough to deal with the underlying conditions of i t s action. The essence of poetry i s , as I e a r l i e r suggested, determinate through l i n g u i s t i c overdetermination: the extra-ordinary synthesis of new l i n g u i s t i c structures from ordinary ones. If there i s such a thing as a " l i n g u i s t i c universal", as mentalists l i k e Noam Chomsky assert^then poetry can be said to have a universal essence, however a l i e n i t s ethnic o r i g i n ^ however unusual i t s creative form. The existence of such a universal would connote the v i a b i l i t y of universal concepts of both "humanity"' and "nature"' in th e i r broadest senses. On the other hand, i f l i n g u i s t i c universals do not exi s t then poetry, "humanity"' and "nature"' cannot have any fixed essences, and I must content myself with conditional d e f i n i t i o n s and r e l a t i v i s t i c interpretations. The basic problem with Heidegger's theory i n this context i s that his 1 See, John Lyons, Chomsky^(London: Pontana/Collins, 1970), pp. 96-108. - 7 3 -ontological bias precludes such ontic considerations. Both the essence and the existence of a l l matters devolve for him from the concept of cosmogonic Being, and thus are simultaneously universal and conditional within the sphere of that r e l a t i o n s h i p . Heidegger's peculiar blending of neo-Platonic essentialism and Husserlian functionalism, while•illuminating i n so many respects, often leaves i n -soluble paradoxes. Given that poetry as a p a r t i c u l a r language act pre-sents and expresses the " r i s s " ' of "world"' and "earth"", i . e . , the r i f t - d e s i g n of "cul t u r e " and "nature"', what are the s t r u c t u r a l constants which make this f i g u r a t i o n s i g -n i f i c a n t ? There i s no doubt that the process by which this f i g u r a t i o n appears i s dynamic, but how does one de-vise a system of analysis which w i l l allow an understanding of the mechanism of i t s p a r t i c u l a r i t y and in t e r n a l logic? If I cannot discover such a system and the s t r u c t u r a l constants which predicate i t , my d e f i n i t i o n of poetry must remain so general as to be hardly useful. L i n g u i s t i c uni-versals may or may not exist, but a degree of s t r u c t u r a l consistency i s necessary to define at lea s t the family  resemblance by which the terms "language"' and "poetry" can be construed as meaningful concepts. That i t i s essential to have this kind of d e f i n i -t i o n cannot be denied, f o r , as I have shown, the poetic experience cannot be i n i t i a t e d except in terms of an object -74--claiming recognition as poetry, and as such projecting certain conceptions of language and poetry which would f a c i l i t a t e that recognition. A conception of poetry i s the ground against which the poetic experience appears as poetic; even though that experience may revise that conception, this r e v i s i o n cannot exceed certain l i m i t s without contravening the basic p r i n c i p l e of gestalt , and upsetting the paradoxical synthesis of "world"' and "earth"' which informs that p r i n c i p l e . Insofar as poetic experience i s a transcendence—in this sense a p r i o r i to i t s components i t i s , as Heidegger says, "the precinct of the gods'/ a temple in which they, as the incarnations of an absent a p r i o r i truth,are held to be present. But how can I know the temple, and how i s i t constructed to be the temple s u i generis rather than a mere r e p l i c a t i o n of other such monuments? Moreover, i f I recognize the temple as the tempi how can I admit what I must also recognizer i t s resemblance to i t s h e r e t i c a l or inauthentic brothers? To answer this question^let me begin by accepting for the moment the hypothesis which seems to be accepted in d i f f e r e n t ways by Whorf, Sapirj and Heidegger: that lan-guage structures conceptual reality"^ This hypothesis i s used d i f f e r e n t l y in each case, and i s neatly r e v e r s i b l e : 1 See, Benjamin Lee Whorf, "Languages and Logic", Language. Thought, and Reality, ed. J.B'i C a r r o l l (Cambridge, Mass.r M.I.T.. Press, 19640, pp. 234-24-5. Also, Edward Sanir, Language (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 19 1 +9), pp. 120-14-0, 2 1 7 - 2 1 8 . - 7 5 -t h i s notwithstanding, language may be said to structure r e a l i t y at le a s t inasmuch as i t i s one cf the primary me-dia t i n g structures of cognition. It i s not r e a l l y to the point whether d i f f e r e n t languages mean uniquely d i f f e r e n t r e a l i t i e s i n respect to the l o g i c of perceptual and con-ceptual process 1; what Is to the point i s that the structure of language imposes certain l i m i t s upon what can be under-stood through that language of the "world" or the "earth". Furthermore, this disjunction between one's understanding of the fact of the cosmos to which one belongs, and the a c t u a l i t y of that f a c t must always be apparent, for neither "world"' nor "earth" are inert objects: they exist according to their own processes and continually put the l i e to our preconceptions. One could object that language i s innately "'natural"', that i t does embody certain "universals" : which approximate the essential structure of the "natural"" cosmos, and thereby make i t accessible to human understanding. One could argue that the " c u l t u r a l " aspects of the "cultural"' cosmos evolve "naturally"' according to "natural" 1 law, and that the " c u l t u r a l " cosmos i s quite as knowable as that other. One could even argue that i t is not important to know what l i e s beyond the l i m i t s of language, that language i s , as i t exis t s , adequate to a l l human needs. None of these arguments are of relevance here, however. Language i s as "cultural"' as i t i s "natural"; neither quality i s more important than the other. The only "uni-versal"' l i n g u i s t i c structure which stands up to any kind of intensive scrutiny i s the subject-predicate r e l a t i o n which transformationalists take to be the common property of a l l languages and a l l l o g i c s . 1 This c l a s s i c a l l y Kantian notion generates the theory of "kernel sentences'", and the synthetic statements which can be formed from them. There i s , however, no proof that the subject-predicate d i s t i n c -t i o n i s common to a l l languages. Whorf asserts the contrary in f a c t when he speaks of "polysynthetic" languages which 2 do not seem to form sentences in this fashion at a l l . If the transformationalist objects that the subject-predicate d i s t i n c t i o n exists i n the "deep structure"' of the language, he s t i l l may be c r i t i c i z e d . As Wittgenstein so acutely points out i n his c r i t i q u e of Freud, any analytic i n t e r -pretation i s an adduction to the issue at hand: i t s true relevance i s to i t s e l f . 3 Furthermore, as Kant makes clear, the subject-predicate d i s t i n c t i o n reveals as a "'universal"' only the nature of the human mind; therefore, i t maintains rather than ameliorates the cognitive gap be-tween the human, i . e . , in the broadest sense the " c u l t u r a l domain, and the w o r l d - i n - i t s e l f which i s in a s i m i l a r l y 1 c f . Jeanne Herndon, A Survey of Modern Grammars (New Ybrkr Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970), pp^ . 119-134. 2 "Languages and Logic", pp. 236-237. 3 See, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics. Psychology and Religious B e l i e f , ed. C. Barrett (Oxford: BlackwelJL, 196b;, pp. 4 l - ^ . -77-broao sense the "natural"' domain. To say that this gap i s not s i g n i f i c a n t would be r i d i c u l o u s . As Thomas Kuhn notes i n his work on paradigm l o g i c , a l l understandings of "'nature"' ultimately disintegrate:- c a t e g o r i c a l l y a l l forms of cognitive paradigm are incomplete i n their inception, and function u s e f u l l y only i n quite s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l contexts! To accept the l i m i t a t i o n s of language upon our cognition, worse, to accept cognition as absolutely limited by language, would be to accept an unacceptable degree of cognitive stagnation. The assertion that language structures r e a l i t y be-comes the assertion of a problem s p e c i f i c to the human being:- that i s , how do I attune l i n g u i s t i c r e a l i t y , which i s so fundamental to my "world", to the r e a l i t y of things-in-themselves which i s the basis of the "earth"? Should my cognition of the "riss"become either that of a r i f t or of a design alone, then my sense of r e a l i t y i s as incorrect as i t i s p a r t i a l . VI Poetry as-: History and Structure I return to my i n i t i a l hypothesis that the poetic ex-perience achieves i t s e s s e n t i a l structure through deviation from l i n g u i s t i c norms. Man cannot attune l i n g u i s t i c r e a l i t y to the r e a l i t y of things without transcending the limits- of ordinary language; that is'>j language as i t has been conven-1 See The Structure of S c i e n t i f i c Revolutions, pp. 9 1 - 1 1 5 . -78-t i o n a l l y used to that point in h i s t o r y . Every language structure can be said to have both a "cultural"' and a "natural"' aspect insofar as i t i s used; for the purposes of ordinary communication man attempts to harmonize these aspects by subordinating them to the purpose at hand. In Bhort, he defers the r e a l i t y , i . e . , the contradictory presence of language as the juncture of "world" and "earth" by asserting that i s only the means to an "equipmental" end. The forms by which he makes such assertions are the forms of h i s t o r i c a l l y defined grammar and usuage. Poetry, insofar as i t i s r e a l i t y , i s free to transgress these forms. Indeed, to define i t s e l f as a primary r e a l i t y poetry must act i n this way; by such transgression i t shows the fundamental " r i s s " of the "'cultural"' and "natural" aspects which give language i t s f l e x i b i l i t y and power.. The a p r i o r i nature of this transgression i s f a c i l i t a t e d by the h i s t o r -i c a l and t r a d i t i o n a l nature of poetry. Once poetic trans-gression occurs, a new paradigm of expression i s created to be assimilated by the canons of poetic p r a c t i c e : once used, i t i s a usa:g£9. A poetic transgression deviates not only from the defined grammar and usag$e of ordinary speech, but from the history of a l l s i m i l a r l y successful transgres-sions. The poem "happens" as truth happens:- the very fact that i t stands f o r t h as a transgression of ordinary and h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i t i e s establishes i t s s t r u c t u r a l r e l a t i o n a p o s t e r i o r i to them, and their hidden ground i n l i n g u i s t i c 7 9 -form. On the other hand, the f a c t that the poem stands f o r t h as a true event a p r i o r i to a l l others, and r e l a t i v e to them only i n o r i g i n a l terms, v i t a l i z e s and illuminates the ignored or forgotten essence of these r e a l i t i e s . A l l poetry therefore functions at two l e v e l s : the f i r s t , conventional, whatever formal innovations may be present; the second, metalinguistic""- or demonic, conven-t i o n a l i t y notwithstanding. The demonic defines poetry in the most absolute sense, but i s contingent upon the conventional structures secondary to i t . Just as worshippers need a temple to meet the gods without endangering the balance between the world of the sacred and the world of the profane, so poetry needs formal structures within whose precincts one may commune with the muse unperturbed by questions to do with the f i x e d , habitual, and instrumental r e a l i t y of every-day cares. The s p i r i t i s most important to poetry. The f i r s t functional l e v e l of poetry i s the l e v e l of formal structure of system; the second, that of event, or process. But this separation i s merely hypothetical. Structure and event i n poetry cannot be temporally d i s -tinguished. Event i n poetry i s contingent upon formal structure as indeed formal structure i s contingent upon event. Neither i s the mechanical consequence of the other. Event and structure exist i n f i g u r a t i v e relationship to one another; thus the process by which one emerges into 1 cf. Jack Burnham, The Structure of Art (New York: George>:Braziller, 1 9 7 1 ) , pp. 24—26. -80-one's perceptual f i e l d i s the product of the other's ex-istence. B'urnham sets up a paradigm as follows, ...event and structure are in opposition, and therefore neither term precedes the other, e-vent i s always i n t e g r a l to structure as i n process _rv_ event system structure As a result, the temporal condition of a sign i s always synchronic, reducing a l l processes and events to ideal points i n time. Hence i t follows that a l l signs r e s i s t history, funct-ioning outside the passage of time. Signs representing h i s t o r i c a l events exist as incre-mental marks on a temporal l i n e . l While i t i s doubtful whether aesthetic signs r e a l l y func-tion "outside the passage of time", i t i s true that an i d e a l i t y of space and time i s presupposed insofar as the work i n question i s a unique and a p r i o r i event.. Yet, the s t r u c t u r a l basis of t h i s event has i t s e l f a temporal and a h i s t o r i c a l basis. The c o n f l i c t between the estab-lished r e a l i t y represented by aesthetic structures, and the o r i g i n a l r e a l i t y created by their synthesis i s , of course, a "riss"'. Established r e a l i t y , the fixed history of human being in the broadest sense i s i n this respect "earth"; i n being fixed and defined, i t conceals "naturally"' the "World"" whose p o s s i b i l i t y i s , i d e a l l y speaking, man's true "'cultural" heritage. To the degree that man upsets the f i x i t y of es-tablished s t r u c t u r a l r e l a t i o n s , and the h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i t i e s they s i g n i f y , he r e a l i z e s this p o s s i b i l i t y and a new "world". 1 The Structure of Art, p. 21. The appearance of the "equation" here can be misleading. The symbolO means a re-l a t i o n of correspondency: simultaneous integration and d i f -f e r e n t i a t i o n , a " r i s T C -81-A new "world"' means, of course, a new hist o r y . The o r i g i n a l i t y of every work of art i s always proof of the concealing, as well as the revealing nature of time. Hi-story, in this sense, i s not the defined fact of what has happened, i t i s the omni-temporal r e l a t i o n of what happens now to what has happened and what w i l l happen; thus, i t i s the e-vent (the standing-forth as assertion) of human pos-s i b i l i t y as a c t u a l i t y . Aesthetic signs r e s i s t history only in terms of a very limited concept of what constitutes history. The fact that the h i s t o r i c a l and. temporal struc-tures of a poem recede into the background as i t emerges as a unique event of consciousness does not mean, as one might construe Burnham to mean, that a poem or other work of art i s without h i s t o r i c a l content; only that one's pre-dominantly h i s t o r i c a l sense of r e a l i t y i s being revised. I t i s the r e v i s i o n of } and not the resistance to history which i s s i g n i f i c a n t as anyone capable of distinguishing a dadaist from T.S. E l i o t w i l l understand. The question which arises naturally i s : can I under-stand a poetic experience as an event except as a structure? The answer i s that events are apprehended subjectively and "understood"', that i s , fixed in some objective frame-of-re-ference s t r u c t u r a l l y . Now, the structure of a poem can be conceived synchronically, i n Burnham1 s terms, as "system"', but i t only "happens" as a process. What I am r e a l l y deal--82-ing with here i s two notions of structure, both of which are applicable, although one i s wider than the other. The f i r s t notion, which i s Burnhara's, i s that of mechanical structure; the second, which i s my own, and which includes the f i r s t , i s that of organic structure. Any mechanical structure i s a fixed system; i t has an a c t u a l i t y which cannot change. If the system does change then the struc-ture i s negated as i t was. Organic structures, on the other hand, have an a c t u a l i t y which develops i n time through the negation and creation of mechanical structures which consti-tute i t s given id e n t i t y at any moment in time. A baby, for instance, as i t grows i s an i n f i n i t e series of meehanisms; yet, s t r u c t u r a l l y i t i s only one organism. In poetry the mechanical l e v e l of structure inheres i n i t s r e f e r e n t i a l i t y : the poem has a fixed set of s i g n i f i e r s . The organic l e v e l of structure, howevers, inheres in what might be called the poem's i n f e r e n t i a l i t y . the p o s s i b i l i t y of i t s s i g n i f i c a n c The significance v/hich a poem has i s never constant; i t changes from time to time, from person to person. Only the fa c t of i t s presentation remains constant. A poem i s not l i k e a baby i t i s t r u e — i t i s not an organism, but a thing. But the essence of the poem as a work of art i s defined or-ganically in human experience; i t happens. One might suppose that the mechanical structure of a work of art i s subservient to i t s organic structure. This, - 8 3 -however, i s not so. Clearly, a work of art cannot exist without the a c t u a l i t y which i t derives from i t s mechanism. And that a c t u a l i t y would be without significance or purpose, in human terms, without being, were i t not for the p o s s i b i l i t y which the work derives from i t s organism. The basic mecha-n i c a l structure of the work i s ""closed"'; i t i s the "earth"', the "natural"' ground of the organic structure of the work which i s "open"" insofar as i t i s continually given . The organic structure of the work "opens" on a "world"; i t i s a " c u l t u r a l " f i g u r a t i o n whose significance i s as extensive as i t s ground i s secure. Both kinds of structure, the one apparently s t a t i c ; the other, k i n e t i c together form a new and o r i g i n a l synthesis of "nature" and "culture" i n which, hopefully, r i f t and design balance one another to form a true " r i s s " . Generally speaking, a l l "natural" structures are de-fined f u n c t i o n a l l y as dependent variables whereas " c u l t u r a l " structures are constituted as independent variables. A phon-eme therefore i s usually a "natural"' structure insofar as i t s existence i s conditional upon the context of meaning of which i t i s a part. A morpheme i s a "cultural"' struc-ture i n r e l a t i o n to that phoneme insofar as i t establishes i t s use. But the morpheme i t s e l f i s a "natural" 1 structure in terms of the syntactic and semantic structures which condition i t s meaning. Thus, every structure can be both "natural"' and " c u l t u r a l " at the same time, and can be se--Se-parately perceived as one or the other only i n terms of a p a r t i c u l a r d i s t i n c t i o n of function. This s i t u a t i o n i s so even though the a perceiver of language tends to grant certain l i n g u i s t i c structures, and the conceptual d i s t i n c -tions which can be made in those structures' terms an au-tomatic status, either "natural" or " c u l t u r a l " . That which seems fixed objectively or given subjectively may or may not be designated as "natural"' or " c u l t u r a l " , but inevitably such designations are made. VII Oh Poetic Meaning The designation i s not a question of f i x i t y , givenness, "naturalness"' or " c u l t u r a l i z a t i o n " 1 per se, but the degree to which the structure in question appears to have an i n -nate meaning. Thus, phonemes generally seem to be inherently "natural"' whereas morphemes seem to be inherently "cultural"'. I d i o l e c t i c a l expressions likewise are "natural"' whereas d i a l e c t i c a l expressions are " c u l t u r a l " . It i s "natural"' to think a woman is more "natural"' than a man; that he i s more "cultural"' than she, insofar as the female seems dependent upon the male for i d e n t i t y to the degree that she i s regarded to be i n f e r i o r to him.*"*- The f a l l a c y of such l a b e l l i n g must be obvious. Poetry i s inherently ontological, and thus regards a l l " presences as having meaning insofar as they are: there-1 Burnham, p. "+9. 2' Ibid.,PP. " + 8 - 5 ! . - 8 5 -fore i t tends to remove them from the sphere of p r a c t i c a l -i t y . The poet, as I have noted, . . . i s intent upon what he sees and hears and the sense of the certainty of the presences about him^is as nothing to the presences them-selves. 1 P r a c t i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n s of " c u l t u r e " and "nature"' are con-cerned with "the certainty of the presences""; that i s to say with their a c t u a l i t y , not with th e i r p o s s i b i l i t y . The poetic experience, however, i s an exploration of presence—Heidegger would c a l l i t an exploration of the Being of human being. Hence, the poet i s l i k e l y to define poetic meaning t h e o r e t i c a l l y or i n practice as Charles Olson does, that which exists through i t s e l f i s what i s called meaning.^ This ontological sense of meaning frees the poetic exper-ience from the ordinary constraints of established modes of distinguishing "world" and " rearth", "culture"' and "nature", for i t takes the whole question of truth to a more primary levrel of thought. For the poet and f o r his reader "world" and "earth"' exist apart only a r b i t r a r i l y as the dynamic of forces which allows Being to emerge from Nothingness. The poet i s not concerned with the appearance or the r e a l i t y of a thing as man of p r a c t i c a l a f f a i r s might be; he i s 1 Stevens, "A Collect of Philosophy", p. 2 6 5 . 2 Charles Olson, Causal Mythology (San Francisco: Four Seasons, 1 9 6 5 ) , p..2. -86-concerned with the thing existing through i t s e l f . He must, as I said e a r l i e r , l e t be, and this means l e t "be be f i n a l e of seem". As Heidegger puts i t , In the work...it i s not a matter of the repro-duction of a single entity present-at-hand at any given time, but rather of the reproduction of the universal essence of th i n g s . 1 What the poet seeks to do i s to express the esse n t i a l con-f l i c t of "world" and "earth" by which a presence _is both ac t u a l l y and possibly, for i t i s thi s c o n f l i c t which i s the "universal essence of things". Insofar as the poet creates a poem which constitutes a meaning i n this manner, he create the most fundamental of truths. VIII Poetry and Instrumental Conception The obstacle to poetic creation and to the appreciation of the experience which i t ought to inaugurate i s the reader tendency to take for granted the r e l a t i o n of "world" and "earth"', thus to t r u l y apprehend neither. This forget-fulness of the " r i s s " which constitutes the essence of things i s quite necessary to eff i c a c i o u s a c t i v i t y . I have already noted that my a b i l i t y to drive a car depends upon my a b i l i t y to forget i t s essential being and make it-sub-servient to my intentions. Poetry works by revealing the essential being of things, inverting the usaal p r i o r i t i e s of human action. The poetic experience, as I argued e a r l i e r i s a contemplative rather than an instrumental a c t i v i t y . . 1 "The Origin of the Art Work", p. 6 6 5 . -87-Whereas instrumental or "equipmental"' a c t i v i t y conceals the " r i s s " 1 by which things are present for man, contemplative a c t i v i t y reveals i t in a l l i t s complexity, uniqueness, and emergent p o s s i b i l i t y . In some sense, of course, contemplative a c t i v i t y i s instrumental, for i t renews and v i v i f i e s human conception of the world, but as i t occurs i t cannot but seem to be a demonic revelation. A possible paradigm for t h i s exper-ience might be, Instrumental Conception: The Concealed Relation of Nature and Culture Riss Aesthetic Conception: The Revealed Relation of Nature and Culture Burnham, writing of Levi-Strauss says, Art i s simply another case of the conjunction of r e l i g i o n and magic, a language expressing the effects of both through i t s own i n t e r n a l l o g i c . In Levi-Strauss 1 d e f i n i t i o n of magic, the n a t u r a l i z a t i o n of human actions could be expressed as "na t u r a l i z a t i o n of the cultural";: humanization of natural laws i s the " c u l t u r a l -i z a t i o n of the natural". It becomes evident... that a l l successful'art integrates both effects as equally and f u l l y as possible. The reason for...analyses, therefore, i s to determine where and how this i s done i n each case. Whereas a l l signs are divided into c u l t u r a l or natural terms, c u l t u r a l terms c u l t u r a l i z e their natural coun-terparts and natural terms naturalize the c u l -t u r a l . Where either does not c l e a r l y occur, the art may be culturized or naturalized on the ide-o l o g i c a l plane, or i t s structure may remain am-biguous, or i t may not function as art at all.- 1-Poetry i s a grounding of the s e l f i n what i s a p r i o r i to 1 The Structure of Art, vv>. 4-8-50. See also Claude Levi-Strauss 1 The~Raw and the Cooked, trans. J. and D. Weightman (New Yorkr Harper & Row, 1969), t j p i l - 3 2 . -88-the s'eTf r i t cannot be i n i t s inception a technical or pragmatic function. If poetry has function i t i s mythic, for i t integrates, as Burnham indicates, the effects by which r e l i g i o n and magic subsist.. This i s not to say that poetry i s r e l i g i o n or magic, although both may be poetic; i t i s only to say that poetry seeks the f u l l e s t possible apprehension of existence, a r e a l i z a t i o n that ,rwe are creaturess, not of a part, which i s our everyday l i m i t a t i o n , but of a whole for which, fo r the most part, we have as yet no language". Stevens says further that, This sudden change of a lesser l i f e for a grea-ter one i s l i k e a change of winter for spring or any other transmutation of poetry. 1 The r e a l i z a t i o n which i s the end of poetry i s natural l i k e the process of seasonal change insofar as i t i s a funda-mental ^transmutation" of e x i s t e n t i a l conditions. To say that poetry i s natural in this sense i s to say, as Stevens says, that what we o r d i n a r i l y think of as nature (as opposed to Heidegger's notion of "nature") i s poetic . Poetic r e a l i z a t i o n s are the ground which substantiates a l l other r e a l i z a t i o n s , instrumental or otherwise. Rel-i g i o n and magic approach the c o n f l i c t of "world"' and "earth" from d i f f e r e n t directions;- in the poetic experience one finds oneself at the centre of this c o n f l i c t , rather than approaching i t with hopes of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n . The poetic experience i s demonic in this sense because 1 "A' Collect of Philosophy" 1, p. 264 -89-i t demands that i t s participants accept as "'creatures of a whole"" an ambiguity which r e l i g i o n and magic would resolve, and by this resolution, extirpate.. The meaning: of the po-et i c work exists through i t s e l f ; i t cannot be resolved i n terms of a magical or r e l i g i o u s ideology, for i t mod-i f i e s a l l existing ideologies by redefining the c u l t u r a l ground from which they spring.. To the degree that the poetic experience i s imbued with the power of possession, i t transforms the world i n which man l i v e s . TX Van Gogh's Peasant Shoes Such concepts are problematic to say the l e a s t . Hei-degger c l a r i f i e s the issues to an extent i n a penetrating c r i t i q u e of a painting by van Gogh i n which the painter depicts the essential being of a pair of peasant woman's shoes- without actually depicting their actual use. Heidegger begins defining the way i n which these shoes would o r d i n a r i l y appear did they a c t u a l l y e x i s t : The peasant woman wears her shoes i n the f i e l d . . Here they are for the f i r s t time what they are. They are such a l l the more genuinely the less the peasant woman thinks about the shoes while she i s at work, or sees them at a l l , or even takes: any heed of them. She stands and walks i n them. This i s how shoes actually serve.- It i s in thi s process of equipment that we must actually en-counter the character of equipment. 1 The shoes are "equipment"';- in everyday l i f e they are only the extensions of human intention. The less the shoes' 1 "The Origin of the Art Work", pp. 662-663. owner i s conscious of them as things other than her, the more comfortable they are, and the more s u c c e s s f u l her use of them seems.. Ah everyday conception of shoes therefore conceals the a c t u a l being of the shoes. I f , f o r ins t a n c e , I adopt an everyday a t t i t u d e towards the shoes which ap-pear i n van Gogh's p a i n t i n g so s t a r k l y d e p i c t e d , I w i l l f i n d nothing of s i g n i f i c a n c e , f o r shoes by themselves us-u a l l y mean nothing. Hence, ...as long as we only imagine a p a i r of shoes i n g e n e r a l , or simply look at the empty, unused shoes as they stand there i n the p i c t u r e , we s h a l l never d i s c o v e r what the equipmental being of equipment i n t r u t h i s . In van Gogh's p a i n -t i n g we cannot even t e l l where these shoes: stand.. There i s nothing surrounding t h i s p a i r of shoes i n or to which they might belong, only an undefined space. There are,--?.not even clods from the s o i l of the f i e l d or the path through i t s t i c k i n g to them, which might at l e a s t h i n t at t h e i r employ-ment. A p a i r of peasant shoes and nothing more. 1 At the b a s i c s t r u c t u r a l l e v e l of the work of a r t I see on-l y the bare f a c t of what i s presented;' I see a representa-t i o n of shoes by themselves which does not i n d i c a t e t h e i r use. I might conclude th e r e f o r e that I do not r e a l l y see the t h ing at a l l as shoes, f o r t h e i r use i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t of t h e i r being. What I see i s a matrix of l i n e and colour which resembles objects w i t h which I have some ex-perience without i n d i c a t i n g t h e i r relevance to mer "' a p a i r of peasant shoes and nothing more"'. Something "happens"' i n van G'ogh's p a i n t i n g , however. The p a i n t i n g i s not merely a s t r u c t u r a l e n t i t y , a f i x e d 1 Heidegger, "The O r i g i n of the A r t Work", pp. 662-663. -91-and s t a t i c g estalt ; i t cannot be separated from the cons-ciousness which apprehends i t , and as such emerges as a dynamic event. Heidegger writes, From the dark opening of the worn insides of the shoes the toilsome tread of the worker stands f o r t h . In the s t i f f l y s o l i d heaviness of the shoes there i s the accumulated tenacity of her slow trudge through the far-spreading and ever-uniform furrows of the f i e l d , sv/ept by a raw wind. On the leather there l i e s the dampness and saturation of the s o i l . Under the soles there slides the loneliness of the f i e l d path as the evening declines. In the shoes there vibrates the s i l e n t c a l l of the earth, i t s - q u i -et g i f t of the ripening corn and i t s enigmatic s e l f r e f u s a l i n the fallow desolation of the wintry f i e l d . This equipment i s pervaded by uncomplaining anxiety about the certainty of bread, the \<rordless joy having once more with-stood want, the trembling before the advent of death., The equipment belongs to the earth and i s protected in the world of the peasant woman.. From out of this protected belonging the equipment r i s e s to i t s r e s t i n g - i n - s e l f . 1 The f a c t i c i t y of the shoes, their "matter" suggests the use of the shoes, and this use further defines the "world"1 of the peasant woman. That i s to say, while the shoes, as a l l objects belong to the "'earth" i n terms of essence, their existence i s defined and sustained—"protected"--by the "world". The "ontic" c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of "'earth" and "world", their "'matter"' and their "content", are not trul y a n t i t h e t i c a l , f o r what Heidegger c a l l s an "intimacy" devolves from th e i r opposition: In setting up a world and setting f o r t h the earth, the work i s an i n s t i g a t i n g of the struggle.. But this does not happen i n order that the work should s e t t l e and put an end to the s t r i f e i n an i n s i p i d 1 "The Origin of the Art Work"', p. 663 -92-agreement, but in order that the s t r i f e should remain a s t r i f e . Setting up a world and setting f o r t h the earth, the work accomplishes this strug-gle. The work-being of the work consists in the f i g h t i n g of the ba t t l e between world and earth. It i s because the s t r i f e arrives at i t s high-point in the form of simple intimacy that the unity of the work comes about i n the f i g h t i n g of the bat-t l e . . . .The repose of the xrork that rests i n i t s e l f thus has i t s essence i n the intimacy of s t r i f e . 1 Heidegger's meaning here w i l l be more apparent, i f the terms "matter"' and "content"' can be more c l e a r l y d i s t i n -guished.. What I c a l l "content" here corresponds to what Heidegger c a l l s "form"', and which he distinguishes from "matter" i n the following way, That which gives things their permanence and s o l -i d i t y but also at the same time i s the source of their p a r t i c u l a r mode of sewsuous pressure--the coloured, resonant, hard, massy—is the matter in things. In t h i s analysis of the thing as matter...form..is already co-posited. The f i x i t y of a thing, i t s consistency l i e s in the fac t that a matter stands together with a form. The thing i s a formed matter. This interpretat-ion of the thing appeals to the immediate aspect with which the thing s o l i c i t s us by i t s appear-ance....^ this synthesis of matter and form a thing-concept has f i n a l l y been found that ap-p l i e s equally to things of nature and things of use. 2 Heidegger's notion of "form" i s Platonic and i d e a l i s t i c , although he asserts that forms originate i n the world i n -clusive of the mind, rather than in-the mind alone. "Matter"' i s the primordial f a c t of a thing as an immediate presence, actual but i n f i n i t e i n i t s possibility.^''Form'" or "content" 1 "The Origin of the Art Work"", p. 6 7 5 . 2 Ibid., p. 6 5 7 . 3 , cf. Alfred North Whitehead, Symbolism:- Its Meaning  and E f f e c t (New York: Macmillan, 1 9 2 7 ) , pp. l - 2 9 . - 9 3 -i s a r e a l i z a t i o n of a set of p o s s i b i l i t i e s innate i n the "matter" of the thing, and as such co-extensive with i t . The "content"' of a thing then i s the significance which one makes determinate i n terms of that things brute sub-s t a n t i a l i t y . The art work has i l l i m i t a b l e significance beeause i t balances "matter"and "content" in such a way that no set of significances can exhaust the primordial p o s s i b i l i t y of the work which continually asserts i t s e l f . The " s t r i f e " of the work of art i s therefore a function of an ontological r e c i p r o c i t y . The mechanism of this r e c i p r o c i t y i s obviously that the art work presents the a c t u a l i t y of things as both equal and other to i t s per-ce.iver's ownr his apprehension of i t as an object of no instrumental consequence i s valuable only i n terms of pos-s i b l e s i g n i f i c a n c e s . X Resemblance, Ambiguity and the "Riss" What "happens" in van Gogh's painting i s that a '<world" i s set up and an "earth" set f o r t h i n an antimonious, but intimate r e l a t i o n . It i s because the painting presents a semblance of shoes, rather than the a c t u a l i t y of the shoes that this r e l a t i o n i s possible, f o r in dealing with resem-blances, rather than exact reproduction, van Gogh binds the bare conception of shoes to a deeper human r e a l i t y . 1 c f. Whitehead, Symbolism; Its Meaning and E f f e c t , p. 21. - 94-Th e " p r o l i f e r a t i o n of resemblance extends an object"! writes Stevens: The point at which this process begins, or rather at which this growth begins, i s the point at which ambiguity has been reached. The ambiguity that i s so favourable to the poetic mind i s p r e c i s e l y the ambiguity favourable to resemblance. In this ambiguity, the i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of r e a l i t y by resemblance increases r e a l i z a t i o n . . . . I t i s as i f a man who l i v e d indoors should go outdoors on a day of sympathetic weather. His r e a l i z a t -ion of the weather would exceed that of a man who l i v e s indoors. It might, i n f a c t , be intense enough to convert the r e a l world about him i n -to an imagined world. In short, a sense of r e a l -i t y keen enough to be i n excess of the normal sense of r e a l i t y creates a r e a l i t y of i t s own. Here what matters i s that the i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of the sense of r e a l i t y creates a resemblance:: that re-a l i t y of i t s own i s a r e a l i t y . 2 Van Gogh's shoes are not the r e a l shoes;- they are not pres-ented as shoes. As Heidegger notes, they are "empty, un-used" and stand i n "'an undefined space".. The ambiguity which marks the resemblance cf these shoes to r e a l shoes, however, i n t e n s i f i e s the perceiver's sense of the r e a l i t y of shoes generally through contrast, for he i s o r d i n a r i l y oblivious of them. Moreover, since this resemblance i s ambiguous i t expresses a question which our everyday con-ception of shoes cannot answer, but which the imagination resolves by the creation of an imagined world with a re-a l i t y of i t s own. Suddenly, the perceiver i s "outdoors" 1 as a "creature 1 Wallace Stevens, "Three Academic Pieces", The Necessary  Angel (New York: Random House, 195D, p. 78. A i r T u r t h e r prose quotations of Stevens' writings w i l l be from this edition unles sLqtaerwlse noted . 2 Ibid., pp. 78-79 - 9 5 -of the whole"1' f o r which the painting i s the only true lan-guage. As Stevens suggests, resemblance, the soul of meta-phor, i s what binds r e a l i t y together!, and one resemblance naturally begets another: ...as to the resemblance between things i n na-ture, i t should be observed that resemblance constitutes a r e l a t i o n between them since, i n some sense, a l l things resemble each other. Take, for example, a beach extending as far as the eye can reach, bordered, on the one hand, by trees and , on the other, by the sea. The sky i s cloudless and the sun i s red. In what sense do the objects i n thi s scene resemble each other?' There i s enough green i n the sea to re-l a t e i t to the pal ms. There i s enough of the sky reflected i n the water to create a resem-blance i n some sense, between them. The sand i s yelloxv'^between the green and the blue- In short, the l i g h t alone creates a unity not only i n the recedings of distance, where differences-become i n v i s i b l e , but also i n the contacts of closer sight. So, too', s u f f i c i e n t l y generalized, each man resembles a l l other men, each woman resembles a l l other women, this year resembles l a s t year.. The beginning of time w i l l , no doubt, resemble the end of time. One world i s said to resemble another. 2 The moment Stevens looks upon his hypothetical v i s t a f o r resemblances, he finds them, f o r resemblance i s nothing less than that continuity of the cosmos which u -man can apprehend through the e f f o r t of his imagination. The men-t a l operation by which Heidegger finds the "Milsome tread of the worker"' in the "dark opening of the worn insides of the shoes"" involves the same a c t i v i t y of imagination ex-cept that the worker and the shoes belong to d i f f e r e n t 1 2 "Three Academic Pieces", pp. 7 1 - 7 3 . Ibid., pp. 7 1 - 7 2 . - 9 6 -spheres of existence, the one present i n the painting, the other unlike the objects which Stevens r e l a t e s , pre-sent only i n the mind. Simple association i s not the answer, for as Heideg-ger's c r i t i q u e of the painting indicates, a work of a r t i s an imaginative whole, complete i n i t s e l f . Van Gogh imbues the shoes with q u a l i t i e s and attributes which d i s -tinguish both the "world" and the "earth"' of the peasant woman. The combination of these attributes in the sim-ple image of the painting expresses the conditions which give r i s e to the unique being of the thing nominally re-presented. The ambiguity of the painting i s an advantage. The worker and her world may not be in the painting, but then i t i s manifest that the shoes are not r e a l l y there either. I t may be a greater leap from the shoes to the peasant woman herself, but one must s t i l l begin with a leap; that i s , with the operation by which one's imagination transforms a mass of colour and l i n e into shoes.,1 The f i r s t leap f a c i l i t a t e s a l l subsequent ones... Once I decide that the image i s not merely a fortuitous combin-ation of paints, I cannot but notice the stress which the painter puts on certain attributes appropriate to a p a r t i -cular r e a l i t y . . In reconstructing this r e a l i t y i n terms of the bare fa c t of the painting, I beoome possessed by i t ; the shoes are not represented for me, but re-presented i n me. Only i n this sense i s the painting an event. 1 c f . Maurice Merleau^Ponty, "Eye and Mind", The Es-g p n f - i a i W r i t i n g ^ nf M o r i P a i i-Pnntv. ed. Alden Fisher U\'ew *orkr Harcourt, Brace and World, 1 9 6 9 ) , pp. 2 5 8 - 2 6 5 . -97-The painting of the shoes i s a " r i s s " . - On the one hand, i t i s a "'cultural"' object u t i l i z i n g various conven-tions; on the other, a "natural" one mysteriously d i f f e r e n t from a l l others.. Insofar as i t s manner of depicting shoes r e s i s t s categorization, I know i t belongs to the "earth", and I look f o r the secrets which i t conceals. The ambiguity of the work permits i t to conceal and reveal at the same time insofar as I cannot be certain that the presences which i t brings to my mind are meant to be construed, only that they are. The everyday conceptions which one employs as the s t r u c t u r a l co-ordinates of one's perception of the painting are simultaneously imbued with mystery and the c l a r i t y of pure Presence.. Yet, pure Presence must take shape also i n terms of such conceptions. The ambiguity of the shoes i s the essential ambiguity of a l l resemblances by which the m u l t i p l i c i t y of a l l things find unity. Such ambiguity i s an imperative, perceptual and conceptual, f o r in re-vealing the way i n which a l l things my be the same and yet d i f f e r e n t , i t asserts the co-extension of the reader's consciousness with the painting without negating the au-tonomy of ei t h e r . This rather anomalous s i t u a t i o n i s not as impossible as i t might f i r s t appear i f one keeps i n mind that great art has an ontologizing function, and need not respect the ordinary d i s t i n c t i o n s of identi t y and difference so necessary to p r a c t i c a l action. Aesthetic contemplation i s -98-not i n any immediate sense p r a c t i c a l ; i t i s concerned with ends, and not with means. Van Gogh's painting i s successful, at l e a s t f o r Heidegger, to the extent that i t demonically possesses the mind, and creates for him an imaginative world with a r e a l i t y of i t s own. The "earth" upon which this r e a l i t y stands i s the o r i g i n a l i t y of the painting; the "world""" into which i t intrudes i s the c u l t u r a l l y ordered and constituted consciousness of the philosopher. Taken together, "earth" and "world"' form a " r i s s " ' t e s t i f y i n g to the i n t e g r i t y and plenitude of Being. Such conceptions as the " r i s s " are not mystical; nor are they impracticably abstract. Poetic meaning i s "that  which exists through i t s e l f " : i t i s necessarily ontological and, i n that sense, a p r i o r i . A poem, as I have indicated, cannot exist without both a reader and a creator: i t cannot exist i n a vacuum. The significance of a poem, moreover, i s that i t appropriates the reader's consciousness to i t s own ends and their structures. This appropriation* i s only possible to the extent that reader and poem rel a t e on a primary and primordial basis, that of a p r i o r i being. The "dual-unity" which re s u l t s i s Heidegger's "riss'.' and actu-a l i z e s what i s called poetic meaning insofar as i t , of a l l things, truly exists through i t s e l f , including as i t does, both the"world""which the reader knows, and the "earth"' unknowably incarnate in the o r i g i n a l i t y of the poem. The synthesis which follows from a successful poetic experience -99-i s naturally valued by both the ind i v i d u a l and his h i s -t o r i c a l "world m, f o r while i t defines that c o n f l i c t of "nature"' and "culture" so problematic to the human mind, i t also reveals the intimacy of their r e l a t i o n . Such a sense of intimacy i s esse n t i a l to one's sense of e x i s t e n t i a l i n t e g r i t y whatever one does, wherever one i s . And within l i m i t s , s o c i e t i e s give poetry license to explore the " r i s s " of "earth"' and "world" without being bound unnecessarily by the conceptions current in those socie t i e s struggle with nature i n the narrower sense. Poetic meaning i s without significance unless i t exists through i t s e l f , but to exist through i t s e l f i t must be granted both a demonic freedom and the power to use i t . The " r i f t " and the "design"' of poetic '"riss" there-fore act--: both i n terms of poetic reference (what the reader actually sees s i g n i f i e d inxthe poem) and i n terms of poetic inference (what he conceives to be the possible sig n i f i c a n c e of the poem). A\ " r i s s " 1 i s not a simple dicho-tomy; itis:a matrix of "earth-world" relations extending to a l l aspects of the poetic experience, and unifying i t with the consciousness of the readier: t h i s , at l e a s t , i s i t s demonic p o t e n t i a l . -100-CHAPTER I I I WILLIAMS ' "NANTUCKET"" AND THE ART OF AMBIGUITY" Heidegger's interpretation of van Gogh's painting depends upon his interpretation of the ambiguity of the painter's depiction of the peasant woman's shoes-, the fact that the image which the painting,:.presents only ex-presses resemblance. As I have indicated, both ambiguity and resemblance i n this s i t u a t i o n are a function of the way i n which the painting brings e s s e n t i a l , but o r d i n a r i l y unnoticed q u a l i t i e s of the shoes into the foreground. The shoes are depicted starkly and one cannot but-notice the "dampness and saturation of the soil"which l i e s upon the leather as evidence of the owner's intimate r e l a t i o n with nature in the narrower sense. Such d e t a i l s constitute a deviation from the usual conception of shoes as "equip-ment"", but are j u s t i f i e d i n the i r transgression to the extent that they render the being of the shoes. The " r i s s " which they create as the shoe's being i s the juncture of the "world"' and "earth" to which we also belong. Thus, the perceiver finds'himself possessed, f o r the being of the shoes can only be understood as his Being. In poetry d i f f e r e n t structures of presentation funct-ion i n terms of the same process. The "matter"" of poetry as utterance i s obviously very d i f f e r e n t from that from which van Gogh's painting i s constructed. Yet, the same -101-p r i n c i p l e s of ambiguity and resemblance hold, in-'®^i5illar fashion ." .". • My experience of a poem i s an experience of the simultaneous d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of a "world"1 and "earth"", at f i r s t nominally the poet's, and f i n a l l y , i f the poem i s successful, mine by v i r t u e of i t s possession of me. This d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of "world"' and "earth"' i s also by i t s very nature an integration of one with the other, and of both with my consciousness of them. I Some Notes on the Concept of Ambiguity Before going further, however, I must digress to deal more s p e c i f i c a l l y with that most troublesome of terms, "ambiguity"'. As Geoffrey Leech says, "The trouble with the word AMBIGUITY i s that i t i s i t s e l f an instance of troublesome ambiguity"'. And, In l i n g u i s t i c s , i t has generally been used i n a narrow sense which we may represent as 'more than one meaning f o r the same piece of language*; where-as i n l i t e r a r y studies i t has often been used i n an extremely broad sense popularized by Empson in his wittyyand i n f l u e n t i a l book Seven Types of  Ambiguity: 'any verbal nuance, however s l i g h t , which gives room for alt e r n a t i v e reactions to the same piece of language'. These two senses roughly:correspond to the narrow and wide senses of meaning distinguished i n 3.1.3. There I found i t convenient to confine 'meaning' to the narrow sense of 'cognitive meaning 1, and to use ' s i g n i -ficance' for the wider sense of ' a l l that i s com-municated by a piece of language'. S i m i l a r l y , I s h a l l here prefer to use 'ambiguity 1 in the l i n -guist's sense, and to keep i t d i s t i n c t from 'mul-t i p l e s i g n i f i c a n c e ' (which i s Empson*s 'ambiguity'). 1 Leech, A L i n g u i s t i c Guide to English Poetry, p. 2 0 5 . - 1 0 2 -Now, I have used the word "ambiguity"' i n Empson's sense!, rather than that which Leech chooses, f o r taken i n the f o r -mer way the term i s more i n c l u s i v e . What Leech c a l l s "cog-nitve meaning' i s denotative meaning, the l i t e r a l f a c t of a l i n g u i s t i c representation, but, as noted i n regard to Yvor Winters2, denotation-:and connotation, the f i g u r a t i v e content of any representation, can only be separated with d i f f i c u l t y . "Meaning'"' i s "that which exists through i t s e l f " : i t constitutes, to use Leech's terminology, the "'signi.fi-cance""'of a piece of language, both denotative and con-notative.. In choosing this more incl u s i v e sense of the term, I admit to a s p e c i f i c view of poetic language as a " r i s s " i n which "matter'" and "content"' are as inseparably dependent as the poem and i t s reader. Leech's d i s t i n c t i o n s are precise, but their application i s primarily relevant to everyday language and conception. Leech himself says of poetic language, Both ambiguity and the wider concept of multi-ple significance are manifestations of the MANY VALUED character of poetic language. If an am-biguity comes to our attention i n some ordinary functional use of language, we generally consider i t a d i s t r a c t i o n from the message and a defect of s t y l e . But i f i t occurs i n a l i t e r a r y text, we tend to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, and assume that~,a^peaceful co-existence of al t e r n a t i v e meanings i s intended. In much the same way, i f two l e v e l s of symbolism can be simultaneously read into a poem, we are often inc l i n e d to accept both, as contributing to the richness of i t s si g n i f i c a n c e . 3 1 cf. William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity (London: Chatto and Wind us, 1 9 W , pp. 1 - 7 , 2 3 4 - - 2 T 6 . Leech's quotation, 2 On Modern Poets, pp. 7 3 - 7 4 - . 3 4 L i n g u i s t i c Guide to Modern Poetry. p. 2 0 5 . - 1 0 3 -The crux of the matter i s that the reader expects poetic language to be "many valued""; i . e . , he looks for those transgressions of the "ordinary functional use of language" which indicate that language i s being used to re-present as well as to represent. The reader does not expect an "'oblique meaning"1' i n poetry as EvM.W. T i l l y a r d suggests, 1 he looks for an extended meaning or ^ 'significance"" complete i n the poem. Stevens asserts that poetry i s the language of the whole; i f one accepts this assertion, one must also accept that poetry contrives to extend the existent pos-s i b i l i t i e s of ordinary, that i s , of quotidian language beyond th e i r usual l i m i t s . In this sense, a successful poem i s revolutionary, adding not only to poetic t r a d i t i o n , but reshaping c u l t u r a l history. The amfelguity which the reader finds i n poetry i s not that of o b l i q u i t y , i t i s the not wholly resolved p o s s i b i l i t y of language and mind i n th e i r most intense moment. This am-biguity i s the ambiguity of the origins of the language which men use habitually from day to day, f o r g e t f u l of the p o s s i b i l i t y which i s i t s quintessence.. Insofar as i t seeks to be o r i g i n a l , i t seeks to be primordial, and insofar as i t achieves this primordial i t Jr, the r e a l i t y which i t pre-sents can only resemble that which has gone before. What I mean when I say that poetry i s "ambiguous" i s that i t deals in likeness', that i t i s inherently metaphorical. L See, E.M.W. T i l l y a r d , "Poetry: Dire.ct and Oblique", Poetry: Theory and Practice , ed. E. Perrine TWew York: ' Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962), pp. 104-106. -104-Whether or not poetry uses metaphor i n a conventional way i s not of importance; even the barest of images may assert the f i g u r a t i v e essence of existence, implying as van Gogh's p o r t r a i t of shoes does, a hidden '•world"' and "earth". In this sense what an aesthetic object omits i s often as s i g -n i f i c a n t as what i t reproduces e x p l i c i t l y . Indeed, as I have indicated, an art work cannot reconcile "world"' and "earth"" through the r i f t - d e s i g n or "riss""which i t forms in conjunction with the observor's mind unless i t withholds as much as i t sets f o r t h . This i s not to say that a poem must be incomprehensible, only that i t s relevancies and re-lationships should exceed the reader's a b i l i t y to categorize and comprehend them. Shakespeare, as any Shakespearean c r i t i c knows, i s not universal i n the sense that he appeals to a l l men, but because the universe which ^is his canon trans-cends the c a p a b i l i t y of the i n d i v i d u a l mind, even of the*: c u l t u r a l consciousness of an era,'. The mind cannot con-ceive the conditions by which i t takes on i t s singular character, much less the singular character of the conscious-ness of a c u l t u r a l era:: but an art work in conjunction with a mind may express these conditions i n a p a r t i c u l a r way. Poetry, as Heidegger says, brings man into proximity with the essence of things, and i n so doing brings things into being: "Poetry i s the establishing of being by means of the word"'.1 Things and consciousness belong to opposite sides 1 "HoTderlin and the Essence of Poetry"', p. 2 8 l - 1 0 5 -of the " r i s s " ' though they r i s e from the same ground: poetry brings them together, and thus reconciles us to the ground of existence, i . e . , to the interminable p o s s i b i l i t y of a l l that a c t u a l i t y which i s the extent of what we c a l l both r e a l i t y and unreality, IX S t y l i s t i c Transgression and Ordinary Language The essence of what I e a r l i e r referred to as "poetic deviation" 4, and of the "demonics" of the poem inheres in' the expression of e x i s t e n t i a l condition occuring in a poem through the presentation of unexpected p o s s i b i l i t i e s of language use. The poetic i s fundamentally a language act in the widest sense of both words; i t s point of departure i s the l i n g u i s t i c history of a given culture. Of a l l arts poetry i s the closest to the heart of the language which i t uses. Insofar as language i s a mode of conception, as well as a mode of perception^ poetry i s that art which deals in the widest variety of cognitive functions. The "matter" of painting and sculpture i s primarily v i s u a l ; that of mu-s i c , auditory; that of dance, kinesthetic:-: but poetry fuses thought with evoked sensory perception of a l l kinds:- the idea with the image. Ifi this sense, the poetic i s the most imaginative of experiences,for every image which i t em-bodies carries with i t a schema.1 That i s to say, no image can be evoked in language without a conceptual order, or more s p e c i f i c a l l y , an ordering p r i n c i p l e co-extensive with 1 See Heidegger's Kant the Problem of Metaphysics. pp. 9 3 ~ 1 1 3 « -106-i t s occurrence. Otherwise, the reader could not understand the image as an image. Every concept carries with i t assoc-iated images as well as associated concepts. The concept which i s the concomitant of the poetic image may be a general notion of an object, r e a l or f i c t i t i o u s ; i t may be nothing more than a grammatical convention governing one's perception of l i n g u i s t i c gestalten, but i t i s of no significance by i t s e l f — j u s t as the image, i n f a c t , can be of no significance by i t s e l f without conceptual orientation. Consider again, for instance, the poem "Blues'1'!: 1' e o. e love o evol love o evol e o e 1 If the reader can ignore for the moment the word "love"' and the neologism "ev©l"', he has here nothing but discon-nected sounds; that i s , auditory images, seemingly without associated concepts. At l e a s t , he must conclude t h i s , i f he construes the word "image"* to denote a simple perception without necessary content. The utterances are, however, presented i n terms of a l i n g u i s t i c , a l b e i t poetic conven-t i o n ; hence, they c a l l f o r t h p r i n c i p l e s of language, even though they do not u t i l i z e them. Indeed, the f a c t that these p r i n c i p l e s are not present, but only expressed in 1 bp Michol, Twentieth Century Poetry and Poetics, p. hlk. -107-absentia, gives them a conceptual determinacy that they would not otherwise have. Such conceptual determinacy i n turn evokes subsidiary conceptual p o s s i b i l i t i e s to the extent that the significance or "content"" of the poem must extend from i t s "'matter"'. Why are the ordinary p r i n c i p l e s of syntax and morpho-logy not i n evidence? The moment I ask t h i s question, I not only focus upon the abstract principles of cert a i n lan-guage functions, but on the relationship of each part of the poem to every other part, and. on the hidden implications of each of these rela t i o n s h i p s . I must search f o r hidden sem-blances and resemblances. L i n g u i s t i c deviation implies the general concept of deviation here. In a similar fashion concepts of l i m i t a t i o n , s i m p l i c i t y , fragmentation, absence, integration, and resolution attach themselves to the central concepts of "love" and "evol" !. Even such a minimalist poem as "Blues"' i s in i t s own fashion a complete cognitive act. Insofar as i t plays with' the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of language, i t makes image and schema inseparable. The importance of this u n i f i c a t i o n cannot be stressed enough.. In everyday language one • s olve s the. pr obi ems posed by deviant utterance by separating image and scheme, ana-l y z i n g their r e l a t i o n , and re-uniting them i n terms of one's pre-conceptions. In short, i t i s conventional to refer the problematic image-schema generated by a deviant utterance to a convention or conventions.-which w i l l resolve i t by de-pr i v i n g i t of v/hat brings i t to one's attention i n the f i r s t -108-p l a c e r . i t s o r i g i n a l i t y . The utterance i s interpreted para-p h r a s t i c a l l y , subsumed by a secondary meaning, and i t s un-usualness attributed to "error". Poetry, on the other hand, poses problems either unsolvable in this manner, or presumed to be unsolvable. Special convention such as those implied in the ubiquitous expressions " w i l l i n g suspension of disbe-l i e f " and "poetic licence"' help to keep poetry a problem. Suppose that a drunk approaches me on the street cor-ner and says, "Kin I haf a cuppakafe f e r a dime?"'. I know that whatever request the drunk i s making i s expressed " i n -coirectly"' i n a number of ways. Therefore I must separate the fa c t or "matter"' of what he says from the "content" which I i n f e r ; I must separate image and schema. Now, i n this case there i s a sense i n which this separation i s not valid:-my tendency to interpret rather than accept the l i -t e r a l f a c t of the drunk's statement i s consequent upon an-i n i t i a l conception inseparable from my primary conception of the utterance. That i s , I could not act the way I do unless the image of the drunk's statement did not express the schema of l i n g u i s t i c deviation. The point i s , however, that I find this deviation i n a context which requires p r a c t i c a l action, and not contemplation; I ignore the deviant nature of the utterance and focus instead on the problem of an appropriate response. If I discovered the utterance i n a book of poetry - 1 0 9 -as, DRUNKr Kin I haf a cuppakafe fe r a dime I would react muchy d i f f e r e n t l y . The ambiguity inherent i n the grammatical and l e x i c a l discontinuity of the state-ment would be supplemented, a l b e i t a r t i f i c i a l l y , by a poetic ambiguity. Therefore I would tend to notice p o s s i b i l i t i e s I would never have thought of i n the f i r s t instance. The r e l a t i o n between ""Kin"" and "I"" might have something to do with kinship. I might in f e r that "haf": means "half" as well as ?"have"". Indeed, I could decide that the orthographic i r r e g u l a r i t y of the utterance implies some concept to do with the "'speech of ordinary men"". Along with the l i t e r a l f a c t of request, the image of a drunken man begging, I would have to consider concepts of kinship, "halfness"' or p a r t i a l i t y i n i t s several sense, and the "'ordinary man"'. To consider these concepts would be to revise my notion of drunkenness in terms of new p o s s i b i l i t i e s and to give the basic image a depth and complexity unwarranted by the f i r s t and afitual instance of the drunk's s o l i c i t a t i o n . . Obviously, i f I reacted in this way to a drunk i n a c t u a l i t y , d i f f i c u l t i e s would a r i s e , f or the drunk would expect me to answer what he says as a communication, cor-rect or incorrect; he would not expect me to use his words -110-as an occasion for contemplation. Without a doubt he -would become bellige r e n t i f I did not act appropriately. In an actual s i t u a t i o n where an utterance deviates from l i n g u i s t i c norms to the point of ambiguity one assumes, as Leech would have i t , that there i s "more than one cognitive meaning for the same piece of language", but only one appropriate meaning. There, I must separate image and schema by act-u a l i z i n g a single p o s s i b i l i t y of perception i n terms of a r u l i n g conception, however ambiguous the "matter"' of that primary perception may be. "Yes, you may have a dime for a cup of coffee"", I would say condescendingly, not perhaps r e a l i z i n g that the drunk r e a l l y wanted an excuse to talk to someone, that he r e a l l y wanted a sense of basic kinship with someone, anyone i n fa c t who would make him f e e l less "partial"', less ordinary and forgotten. E f f i c a c i o u s action, as opposed to contemplative action a l -ways requires that one separate from one's image of a s i -tuation a l l those p o s s i b i l i t i e s of mind which do not seem of use i n terms of a p a r t i c u l a r decision. Readers naturally attempt to make this kind of separ-ation in poetry, conventions notwithstanding. It i s the measure of great poetry that paraphrase cannot replace the "original"'"without loss of "meaning" r; 1that i s to say, with-out a n n i h i l a t i o n of the poem's autonomous p o s s i b i l i t i e s . 1 cf. Cleanth Brooks, "The Heresy of Paraphrase", Aesthetics and the Philosophy of C r i t i c i s m , ed. M. Levich (New Yorkr Random House, 1963), pp. 46-63. -111-I f , f o r instance, there were a single complete explica-t i o n of Donne's "The Canonization"', the poem would become c u l t u r a l l y i r r e l e v a n t , for insofar as i t s f a c t would be subservient to a single conception a p o s t e r i o r i , i t could no longer generate or "'create"" the problems which have end-l e s s l y puzzled and delighted scholars. To the extent that the poem then could be said to have l o s t i t s generative capacity, i i would have l o s t i t s f a c t i c i t y : ; the brute f a c t of a thing i s i t s "'earth'", i t s self-concealing pos-s i b i l i t y as a part of "nature". The poem would cease to be of interest except i n a very circumscribed h i s t o r i c a l sense. Parity between perceptual p o s s i b i l i t y and concep-tual determinancy i n the poetic experience i s of the ut-most importance i n appreciation of i t . The basic p r i n c i p l e of such a pa r i t y i s , I have said, foregrounded l i n g u i s t i c transgressions which draw a t t e n t -ion to the l i n g u i s t i c "matter"' of what the poet constructs in the semblance of a given r e a l i t y ; i t is the f a c t that the poem ..is a resemblance, not a reproduction. The ref -e r e n t i a l structure of a poem i s always incomplete insofar as i t deals i n relations of resemblance, and not i n r e l a -tions of id e n t i t y ; what completion i s to be found therein i s to be found by means of inference. This q u a l i t y of re-l a t i o n a l i t y ^ as I indicated e a r l i e r i n discussing Whitehead's 1 cf. Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas, pp. 34-2-3*f;5. -112-aesthetic, i s paramount to the notion of "beauty". It pred-icates those necessary inferences which make the poem more than a conundrum, which make i t an experience i n which the reader's imaginative intentions and associations are int e -grated with those evident l i t e r a l l y i n the poetic object. Dylan Thomas writes, You can tear a poem apart to see what makes i t t i c k , and say to yourself, when the works are l a i d out before you, the vowels, the consonants, the rhymes and rhythms, 'Yes, this i s i t . This i s why the poem moves me so. It i s because of the craftsmanship.' But you're back again where you began. You're babfe with the mystery of hav-ing been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps i n the works of the poem, so that something that i s not i n the poem can creep, crawl, f l a s h , or thunder i n . 1 Very obviously, there are two ways of leaving such "holes and gaps...that something that i s not i n the poem can creep, crawl, f l a s h , or thunder i n " . On the one hand, the poem may omit s i g n i f i c a n t l i n g u i s t i c variables, thus qualifying the reader's expectations; on the other i t may over-use other variables to modify these expectations through am-p l i f i c a t i o n and complication. "Blues' 1 i s a good example of a poem which functions i n terms of l i n g u i s t i c omission;' Donne's "The Canonization", that which operates i n terms of l i n g u i s t i c excess. I need only present the f i r s t stanza of the l a t t e r poem to show the difference p l a i n l y , 1 Dylan Thomas, "Kbtes on the Art of Poetry", Modern  Poets on Poetry, ed. J . Scully (New York:- Fontona Library, 1966), p. 202. Also quoted i n Leech, p. 227. - 1 1 3 -Fbr God sake hold your tongue, and l e t me love, Or chide my p a l s i e , or my gout, My f i v e gray haires, or ruin'd fortune f l o u t , With wealth your state, your minde with Arts improve, Take you a course, get you a place, Observe his honour, or his grace, Or the Kings r e a l l , or his stamped face Contemplate,| what you w i l l , approve, So you w i l l l e t me l o v e . l Hot only does Dcnne iise a l l the resources of ordinary l a n -guage, he u t i l i z e s p r i n c i p l e s of poetic language peculiar to his time. The manner i n which Donne can synthesize conversational language and poetic convention i s , of course, one of the most notable features of his poetry, and i n this case i s developed more completely i n subsequent stanzas which, for the sake of brevity, I w i l l not include. Let i t s u f f i c e to note that Donne's poem has the p a r t i c u l a r i t y and emotive power of everyday speech despite i t s obvious use of a complicated prosody, puns, bathos, extended metaphor, and emblematic imagery. Paradoxically, however, the basic p r i n c i p l e of the poem i s much the same as that which operates i n bp Nichol's "Blnes^despite the l a t t e r ' s minimal c r a f t s -manship. The over-use of l i n g u i s t i c variables produces the same ultimate r e s u l t as their omission i n successful poetry--that i s , both produce a s i g n i f i c a n t ambiguity deman-ding unusually complex inference. What Donne's "The Canoni-zation" and Nichol's "Blues" share i s l i n g u i s t i c overdeter-mination , to use Peckham's term. 2 Both poems select eo.v-1 John Donne, "The Canonization", T n e Metaphysical Poets, ed. Helen Gardner (Penguin, 1957)> p. S i . 2 See, Man's Rage for Chaos, p. 138. -114-certain sets of variables for emphasis, and t h i s select-ion constitutes a l i n g u i s t i c deviation generative of a new scheme of understanding. The overdetermination which the reader finds i n "Blues'" appears against a blank back-ground; that, i n "The Canonization"', against a background of l i n g u i s t i c plenitude; but both poems have their own un-ique worth. I l l Imagination and Deereation Wallace Stevens writes of the imagination, ...the imagination i s the power that enables us to perceive the normal i n the abnormal, the opposite of chaos in chaos. 1 For the imagination to operate i t must have an "abnormal" si t u a t i o n , one s u f f i c i e n t l y ambiguous that i t cannot be resolved by other and subsidiary f a c u l t i e s of mind. Valery writes, ...language i s no longer a t r a n s i t i v e act, an expedient. On the contrary, i t has i t s own value, which must remain intact i n spite of the operations of the i n t e l l e c t on the given propositions. Poe-t i c language must preserve i t s e l f and remain the same, not to be altered by the act o f i n t e l l i g e n c e that finds or gives i t a meaning.2? And, ...there must be...a necessary, or I should say "constitutional"' contrast between the writer and the l i n g u i s t . . The l a t t e r i s by d e f i n i t i o n an observor and an interpreter of s t a t i s t i c s . The writer i s quite the opposite: he i s a deviation^ 1 "'Imagination as Value"*, p. 1 5 3 . 2 Paul Valery, "The Poet's Rights Over Language"", The Art of Poetry, trans. D. F o l l i o t (New York: Vintage, 1 9 5 " " ) , p. 1 7 1 . - 1 1 5 -a maker of deviations. This does not mean that a l l deviations are permitted to him; but i s pre-c i s e l y his business and his ambition to find the deviations that enrich, that give the i l l u s i o n of the power*1 or the purity or the depth of lan-guage. In order to work through language, he works on language. On this material he exercises an ar-t i f i c i a l — t h a t i s , a d e l i b e r a t i v e , recognizable— effect....he must have a precise idea of the pre-v a i l i n g lavrs of language so as to use them for his personal ends and to accomplish the work of man, which i s always to oppose nature by means of nature.1 My d e f i n i t i o n of poetic meaning as "that which exists through  i t s e l f " " i s implied i n Valery's f i r s t statement wherein he speaks of permanent poetic language, i t s i n a l t e r a b i l i t y and autonomy. Valery's second statement follows naturally enough from the f i r s t , and relates to Stevens' notion of the imagination i n an obvious way. The imagination r ;..Iike Hesiod's Theogony. begins with chaos; i t perceives in lan-guage inconsistency, i r r e g u l a r i t y , and f l u x . The imagina-ti o n sees language as an "earth" i n Heidegger's sense of the term; i n attempting to give i t "the i l l u s i o n of the power or the purity or the depth of language", the poetic imagination seeks to make a "world" of words. Charles Olson seems to think i n a similar way when he writes, A work which would free much of the encumbrance upon man as himself a universe—not microorganism, microcosm—would s t a r t with Hesiod....What I am gesturing i n , i s a ' l i t e r a t u r e ' . . . a theogony. As such—and not as i t has sounded—it i s the t o t a l placement of man and things among a l l p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the universe.2 If one were to argue the opposite to what I maintain in 1 Valery, pp. 1 7 1 - 1 7 2 . 2 Charles Olson, Proprioception (San Francisco: Four Seasons, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 16", -116-th i s context,* that language i s , according to my previous d e f i n i t i o n s , consistent, regular, and orderly, one would s t i l l have to conclude that the imagination seeks to en-r i c h language i n the way which Valery asserts i t does. To quote Stevens' famous paradox, A. A vio l e n t order i s a disorder; and B"i A great disorder i s an order. These -, Two things are one.(Pages of i l l u s t r a t i o n s ) To presume that language i s a "world", as such, consistent, regular, and orderly, i s to make an implicit"- separation between an ideal language and an actual one. Any concept of the " i d e a l " in this context i s to be understood as a concept of c u l t u r a l order, that i s , a "world" concept. Any concept of the actual on the other hand devolves from a perception of "natural" f a c t , that i s an "earth"' percept. If one wishes to argue that language i s innately orderly, one must deal with the appearance of disorder which con-s t i t u t e s the a c t u a l i t y , or fact of language. Indeed, one must begin with this problem, for where else can one find the materials to construct a concept of l i n g u i s t i c order? Hence, one begins with chaos whatever one's immediate under-standing of, or orientation towards poetry. What Stevens means when he says that the poetic ima-gination "enables us to perceive the normal i n the abnor-mal"' does not mean that poetry must speak unambiguously 1 "Connoisseur of Chaos"1, Poems by Wallace Stevens.p. 97. -117-with a p e r f e c t l y consistent voice; to the contrary, poetry seeks order through disorder. In this way, poetic language i s always deviant i n two senses: i t i s deviant i n one sense because i t departs from the ideal by using "natural"' means; in another, because i t departs from the "natural"' by seeking through "natural"' means ideal ends. Herein i s the '"riss" of poetic thought, and here too, what Stevens c a l l s the " r e a l i t y of decreation"'. 1 It i s the quintessence of poetry that i t does, as Valery puts i t "'oppose nature-by means of nature"'. Stevens comments, using Simone Weil to present the problem i n another way, Simone Weil in La Pesanteur et La Grace has a chapter on v/hat she c a l l s decreation. She says that decreation i s making pass from the created to the uncreated, but that destruction i s marking pass from the created to nothingness. Modern r e a l i t y i s a r e a l i t y of decreation, i n xtfhich our revelations are not the revelations of b e l i e f , but the precious portents of our own powers. The greatest truth we could hope to discover, in whatever f i e l d we discovered i t , i s that man'ss truth i s the f i n a l resolution of everything.2 In aesthetic terms the act of creation-is the act by which one makes that which has not existed before. But creation depends upon an e s s e n t i a l discrimination separating what has been created from what i s yet uncreated. "We p a r t i c i p a t e in the creation of the world by decreating ourselves", writes Weil, c r y p t i c a l l y noting that our perception of the "uncreated"' i s attendant upon our a b i l i t y to r i d ourselves 1 "The Relations Between Poetry and Painting"', pp. 174-5'. 2 Ibid. -118-of those structures of understanding by which existence becomes but the r e f l e c t i o n of a limited and l i m i t i n g pre-conception 1 Creation i s an endless process. What I "know of s t a b i l i t y , I "know either through I the "revelations of b e l i e f " , unlikely in a d e s a c r i l i z e d age, or through the "precious portents" of my own powers, as contradictory as that might seem to be in r e l a t i o n to the concept of "deereation". The contradiction i n terms here i s fortunately more apparent than r e a l : Stevens does not i n s i s t that modern r e a l i t y , the " r e a l i t y of decreation"' i s a revelation of the f a c t of one's powers, but i t consists of a sign of concealed power. If man could define a l l his p o s s i b i l i t i e s , he would have finished creating himself; he would have no further reason to be, and therefore no being. In Heidegger's terms, the "world"' would have overcome the "earth"'. A poetic work "decreates" the a c t u a l i t y of human conceptions of power, p o s s i b i l i t y , and significance by creating the likenesses of an existence which could not have been anticipated: i t throws existing b e l i e f s into jeopardy, so that man may part-i c i p a t e i n , rather than pre-determine the "creation of the world". Where b e l i e f once functioned to communicate the essential mystery that i s the ground of existence, acts of the imagination must now s u f f i c e , f o r , as Stevens says, "man's truth i s the f i n a l resolution of everything"'. 2 1 c f . Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. E. Crauford London:- Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., 19?2), p. 29. 2 Weil writes, "We possess nothing i n the w o r l d — a mere chance can s t r i p us of everything--except the power to say ' I ' . " Grayxty and. Grace, p. 23. y - 1 1 9 -In the imagination, as I have noted, subject and object interpenetrate; hence, the poetic act i s not, as i t might seem in view of Stevens' previous s t a t e m e n t , ; s o l i p s i s t i c , but... ...the getting r i d of the l y r i c a l interference of the in d i v i d u a l as ego, of the "subject"' and his soul, that peculiar presumption by which western man has interposed himself between what he is as a creature of nature (with cer t a i n instruc-tions to carry out) and those other creations of nature which we may, with no derogation, caUl ob-je c t s . For a man i s himself an object, whatever he may take to be his advantages, the more l i k e l y to recognize himself as such the greater his ad-vantages, p a r t i c u l a r l y at that moment that he achieves an humilitas s u f f i c i e n t to make him of use.l Olson's concept of poetic imagination errs i n i t s extreme organicism: he simply does not give "'cultural" factors their due. Man, as the truism goes, i s a s o c i a l animal; i f , on the other hand, he i s as much a creature of "nature"' as any other object, on the other, every object of "nature" exists within his e x p l i c i t l y "cultural"" perspective. What Stevens c a l l s "man's truth" 1'is both "cultural"' and "natural", a " r i s s " of "world" and "earth"'. What distinguishes > fnature" and '"culture"' i n the poetic experience i s their r e c i p r o c a l r e l a t i o n , constitutive-; as i t i s of human being beyond the confines of simple personality. The demonism of the poem inheres i n that p r i n c i p l e as much as any other: that i t relates man's "cultural"' being to his "natural"' being (and 1 Charles Olson, "Human Universe"', pp. 24 - 2 5 . It i s i n t e r -esting to compare the concepts of individualism and epistomo-l o g i c a l a l i e n a t i o n variously represented by Olson, Stevens, R.D. Laing, and Winters—despite the obvious differences of thei r respective outlooks. -120-vlce versa)•in-some basic manner which transcends his or-dinary sense of this r e l a t i o n as constitutive of himself. The poem i s , of course, the creation of someone, or (as with computer poetry) of some thing Other than us: the f u l l e s t comprehension of i t can only be accomplished with-i n i t s ontological frame-of-reference, not that by which the reader usually orients his actions. In this sense, by " w i l l i n g suspension of disbelief"' and the "precious portents""'.oT his own powers, the reader i s able to r i d himself of the " l y r i c a l interference of the in d i v i d u a l as ego". By this act of "humilitas'% he inaugurates a contemplative state without the aid of r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f or magic: he "decreates"the s e l f whose cognitive determin-acy would obviate t r u l y o r i g i n a l aesthetic "happening". The poetic experience i s therefore an act of self-transcendence. I F Williams* "Nantucket"'and i t s Tradition To more f u l l y explicate the manner i n which the poem acts as the demonic agent of such a transcendence, consider William Carlos Williams' "Nantucket"': NANTUCKET Flowers through the window laveiider and yellow changed by v/hite c u r t a i n s — smell of c l e a n l i n e s s — Sunshine of l a t e a f t e r n o o n — On the glass tray -121-A glass pitcher, the tumbler turned down, by which a key i s lying--And the immaculate white bed. 1 What i s immediately s t r i k i n g about this poem i s i t s ambiguity. It involves a simple description, but the rea-der cannot quite orient this description i n terms of every-day s p a t i a l sense. Is the speaker inside the room or with-out?" Is i t legitimate to impute the existence of an obser-ver here at a l l ? How does the t i t l e of the poem re l a t e to the rest of the poem; that i s , why should i t be c a l l e d "Nantucket"? Is the poet writing i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c a l l y and i m a g i s t i c a l l y , or does he imply meanings which would give his ^images" the metaphorical force of symbols? To what degree can a reader impute to the poem conceptual intention? For that matter, i s the poem r e a l l y a poem, or i s i t a prosaic,and not very grammatical conundrum? These ques-tions, and more, devolve naturally from the text of the poem, and define as they do, the "matter" of the poem, the brute fact of i t s apparent existence. If I do not answer some of these questions by i n f e r r i n g "content", the poem remains closed, enclosed in i t s own verbal complexity; i t may exist through i t s e l f perhaps, but i t hides the essence of that existence. The ambiguity of the poem defines i t s "earth", and. by the incompleteness of i t s r e f e r e n t i a l i t y moves one^tolimfer 1 William Carlos Williams, Selected Poems (New York:: New Directions, I963), p. 60. -122-a "world"' hidden but possible. The opacity of the poem is as much a function of the "earth" which interpenetrates human being to give human preconceptions their f i x i t y and permanence of form, as i t i s of the ""earth" of the poem i t s e l f , i f indeed, one can make this kind of dichotomization. How does one explain what only resembles any pre-existent r e a l i t y ? To do so, one can only posit a new "world"; that i s , an open r e a l i t y which supercedes the a c t u a l i t y of every-day experience. The imagination, as Stevens says, " i s the ir r e p r e s s i b l e r e v o l u t i o n i s t " ^ What i s the "world"" of "Nantucket"? The town of Nantucket from which the New England s a i l o r s ventured f o r t h to f i s h and hunt whales is only present i n the t i -t l e ; i t , i t s harbour, the legends and stories which are the popular mythology of the place are hidden by the simple image of a room. I cannot see the few old s a i l o r s that remain as testimony of the time when M e l v i l l e was inspired to write Moby-Dick. The old houses are torn down one by one; the cobblestones replaced by asphalt; and only the graveyards r e c a l l the zealousness that drove the Puritans to struggle with the elements:' ...they stressed the ' " s p i r i t " " — f o r what else could they do?—and this s p i r i t i s an earthly pride which they, pri d e l e s s , referred to hea-ven and the next world. And for this we praise them, instead of for the one thing in them that was valuable: their tough l i t t l e n e s s and weight of many to carry through the cold; not their 1 "Imagination as Value" 1, p. 154-. - 1 2 3 -brokeness but t h e i r projection of the great flower of which they were the seed. The Pilgrims were mistaken not i n what they did, because they went hard to work with t h e i r hands and heads, but i n what they imagined for th e i r warmth. It could not have been otherwise. But i t i s sordid that a r i c h world should f o l -low apathetically a f t e r . I t i s they who must ' have invented the "soul"', but the perversion for this emptiness, th i s dream, th i s pale neg-ative to usurp the place of that which r e a l l y they were destined to continue. This stress of the s p i r i t against the f l e s h has produced a race incapable of flower. Upon thatspart of the earth they occupied true s p i r i t dies because of the Puritans, except through vigorous r e v o l t . They are the bane, not the s t a f f . Their r e l i g i o u s zeal, mistaken for a thrust up toward the sun, was a strike i n , i n — not toward germination but the confinements of a tomb.l It i s tempting to interpret "Nantucket""' as a parable of the Puritan s e n s i b i l i t y . Fbr Williams, the Puritans'sensi-b i l i t y blinded them to the p o s s i b i l i t i e s 1 ^ of the land they colonized; they could not accept that which r e l i g i o n or reason could not f u l l y assimilate. In t h i s sense, the Puritans could not create, only exploit, for the source of a l l p o s s i b i l i t y i n the New World was hidden from them; to recognize that p o s s i b i l i t y would have been to recognize the material f a c t , the "matter"" of t h e i r existence as va-l i d in i t s e l f , unredeemed by the " s p i r i t " " . There was not ground to build on, with a ground a l l blossoming about them—under their noses. Their thesis i s a possession of the incomplete— l i k e senseless winds or waves or the f i r e i t s e l f . 2 1 William Carlos Williams, In the American Grain (New York:- New Directions, 1956), pp. 65-66. 2 I b i d . , p. Ilk -124-Ahab embodies one aspect of the Puritan s p i r i t i n Williams' sense of i t , for he seeks vengeance upon the White Whale, as much because of the arbi t r a r y way i t took his leg as because i t just took i t : And then i t wa*s, that suddenly sweeping his sickle-shaped lower jaw beneath him, Moby-Dick had reaped away Ahab's leg, as a mower a blade of grass i n the f i e l d . . . . e v e r since that f a t a l encounter, Ahab had cherished a wild v i n d i c t i v e -ness against the inhale, a l l the more f e e l for that f r a n t i c morbidness he at l a s t came to i d e n t i f y with him, not only a l l his bodily woes, but a l l his i n t e l l e c t u a l and s p i r i t u a l exasperations.! The White Whale i s mysterious, ambiguous, and unpredictable: i t represents the self-concealing' r -^eartH"", and i t s c o n f l i c t with the "world1*. Ahab seeks to conquer Moby-Dick, to des-troy what he vaguely senses to be the ambience of his own existence.. If he could recognize the whale for what he i s , and accept this recognition he would not be the Puritan which he i s , and he would not c a l l Nantucket his home har-bour. This l a s t point i s most important, f o r Nantucket re-presents by i t s very nature a certain tradition:: Nantucket! Take out your map and look at i t . See what a r e a l corner of the world i t occupies; how i t stands there, away off shore, more lonely than the Eddystone lighthouse. Look at i t — a mere h i l l o c k , and elbow of sand; a l l beach with-out a background. There i s more sand there than you could use in twenty years as a substitute for blotting-paper. Some gamesome wights w i l l t e l l you that they have to plant weeds there, they don't grow naturally; that they import Canada 1 Herman M e l v i l l e , Moby-Dick, v o l . 1 (New York: Russel & Russel, 1963), p. 229. See also pp. 222-246. - 1 2 5 -t h i s t l e s ; that they have to send beyond seas for s p i l e to stop a leak i n an oil-cask; that pieces of wood i n Nantucket are carried about l i k e b i t s of the true cross i n Rome; that people there plant toadstools before th e i r houses to get un-der the shade i n summer time; that one blade of graqs makes an oasis...that they are so shut up, belted about, every way enclosed, surrounded, and made an utter island of by the ocean, that to their very chairs and tables small clams w i l l sometimes be found adhering, as to the backs of sea-turtles.1 Nantucket i s a waste. It i s as featureless and as bleak as what Williams conceives the Puritan imagination to be; i t is a land which may be safely disregarded; i t i s "shut up, belted about, every way enclosed, surrounded"':-, a circum-scribed "world" where nothing i s without the intervention of man. Nantucket i s a "world" without a "earth"'; i t has, as M e l v i l l e ' s narrator notes, no "background"'; i t i s the tabula rasa of mind without imagination, a convenient base for action, but only a base, Nantuckete^s.;-' cannot l i v e i n Nantucket; they f i n d t h e i r l i v i n g , as with Ahab, the apotheosis of their existence, i n c o n f l i c t with the sea which surrounds the town. The Ahab-like Puritan s e n s i b i l i t y w i l l not accept i t s own "earth"', but i t i s driven by i t s very "nature"" to seek a substitute mystery: They f i r s t caught crabs and quohogs i n the sand; grown bolder, they waded out with nets for mac-kerel; more experienced, they pushed off in boats and captured cod; and at l a s t , launching a navy of great ships on the sea, explored this watery xtforid; put an incessant belt of circumnavigations around i t ; peeped in at Behring S t r a i t s ; and i n 1 Moby-Dick, p. 77* -126-a l l seasons and a l l oceans declared everlasting war with the mightiest animated mass that has survived the Flood; most monstrous and most mountainous! That Himalayan, salt-sea masto-don, clothed with such portentousness of uncon-scious power, that his very panics are more to be dreaded than his most fearless and malicious assaults! And thus have these naked Nantucketeers, these sea-hermits issuing from their a n t - h i l l i n the sea, overrun and conquered the watery world l i k e so many Alexanders; p a r c e l l i n g out among them... oceans, as the three pirate powers did Poland.... two-thirds of this terraqueous globe are Nan-tucketer's. For the sea i s h i s ; he owns i t , as Emperors own empires; other seamen having but a right of way through i t . Merchant ships are but extension bridges; armed ones but f l o a t i n g f o r t s ; even privates and privateers, though following the sea as highwaymen the road, they but plunder other ships, other fragments of the land l i k e themselves, without seeking to draw their l i v i n g from the bottomless deep i t s e l f . The Nantucketer, he alone resides and r i o t s on the sea; he alone, i n Bible language, goes down to i t i n ships; to and fc.P ploughing i t as his own special plantation. There i s his home; there l i e s his business, which a Noah's flood would not interrupt, though i t overwhelmed a l l the mi l l i o n s i n China. He l i v e s on the sea, as p r a i r i e cocks in the p r a i r i e ; he hides among the waves, he climbs them as chamois hunters climb the Alps. For years he knows not the land; so that when he comes to i t at l a s t , i t smells l i k e another world, more strangely than the moon would to an Englishman. With the landless g u l l , that at sunset folds her wings and i s rocked to sleep between billows; so, at n i g h t f a l l , the Nantucketer, out of the sight of land, f u r l s his s a i l s , and lays him to his re s t , while under his very p i l l o w rush herds of walruses and whales. 1 The Nantucketer's i n a b i l i t y to accept his "earth" drives him to the sea, but he cannot escape what i s the condition for a l l his acts, even that of non-acceptance and escape. His i n a b i l i t y predicates a c o n f l i c t of "earth" and"world" even 1 M e l v i l l e , Moby-Dick, pp. 78-79. -127-more apparent than that which he seeks to avoid. The sea i n i t s vastness and depth i s representative of the formless p o s s i b i l i t y of the "earth" 1 for that man who would set his "world"' irremediably against i t . Nothing gro\>/s from the sea, as from the s o i l ; but much grows i n i t . And i t i s this indwelling mystery 1 that the Nantucketer cannot accept, but must tap. How appropriate i s the Nan-tucketer 's rela t i o n s h i p to the seaJ It i s the mystery which his Puritan soul would negate, and yet i t also em-blemizes his e x i s t e n t i a l groundlessness. The word "Nantucket" then r e f l e c t s a t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f r e f l e c t i v e of a h i s t o r i c a l relationship between " c u l t u r a l " man and the "natural"' universe. Insofar as the t i t l e of Williams' poem i s "Nantucket" one might construe that such concepts and associations as have just been dealt with are i n some way relevant to the ess e n t i a l "meaning" of the poem. But c l e a r l y , while they cannot be ignored, they are not r e l e -vant i n an immediate sense V The New Reality of "Nantucket"" Interesting as i t might be to treat the poem as a parable, i t only resembles one. The word "Nantucket"' with a l l i t s h i s t o r i c a l and c u l t u r a l connotations and associations 1 Heidegger writes, "Never one truth alone;/ To receive i n t a c t / The coming f o r t h of truth's nature/ In return for boundless steadfastness::/ Imbed the thinking heart/ In the humble patience/ Of unique high-minded/ And noble memories", Discourse on Thinking, p. 82. -128-i s a point of departure. The poem i s not "about"" the Puritan s e n s i b i l i t y . The concept of "Puritan s e n s i b i l i t y " i s i n fact one of those conceptions which the poetic ex-perience "decreates" and transcends. In e n t i t l i n g the poem as he does, Williams establishes not only the place where the hypothetical room ex i s t s , but a c u l t u r a l milieu whose trad i t i o n s extend beyond the concepts which we use to hypo-sta t i z e them. It i s important to note the kind of place that "Nantucket" i s , but the reader ought not to r e s t r i c t the poem to this conception. I f he supposes that the poem bespeaks the ambience of Puritan attitudes toward the sensual and sensuous world, his mortifying s p i r i t u a l i t y , his passion for order, and his consequent self-confinement and s t e r i l i t y , he would have a sensible interpretation of the poem, espec-i a l l y of the l a s t l i n e s , "And the/ immaculate white bed". This interpretation, however, would be l i t t l e better than a highly conceptualized paraphrase with a certain h i s t o r i c a l and philosophical v i a b i l i t y of i t s own. The poem not only refers to existing conceptions of the town Nantucket, i t v i o l a t e s them. After a l l , how does the poem begin? Flowers through the window lavender and yellow The Nantucket of which M e l v i l l e wrote was a "mere h i l l o c k , and elbow of sand; a l l beach without background". This Nantucket i s i n i t i a l l y characterized by flowers "lavender and yellow". Moreover, the ambiguity of Williams* language -129-i s such that the reader cannot t e l l whether these flowers are inside or/-out side the room. If he accepts the hypo-t h e t i c a l nature of this scene, i t s v i r t u a l i t y , and the l i t e r a l fact of the language as r e f e r e n t i a l structure, the flowers are not only both inside and outside the room, they are i n the window pane which nominally mediates human percep-tion of them. The couplet begins and ends with a plenum of f l o r a l colour. It i s true that the order of the poem's syntax suggests a process of what might be called " f l o r a -tion"'r f i r s t , the flowers by themselves; then, the flowers i n the window .in media res; f i n a l l y , the flowers transform-ing the rooms in terms of t h e i r chromatic es.sence, "lav-ender and yellow". This reading, however, supposes a d i r -ection of perception dependent upon the existence of an as-sumed observor inside the room looking out. The observer may be there, but not necessarily since i t i s just as rea-sonable to see the observor outside the room looking i n at the flowers. As I s h a l l indicate, this apparently im-possible s i t u a t i o n i s a function of l i n g u i s t i c overdetermin-ation. For the moment,let i f s u f f i c e to note that the trans-formative power of the flowers i s given primary r e l a t i o n a l significance without regard to the ordinary p o s i t i o n a l de-terminations by which one orients one's perceptions and con-ceptions. The reader cannot "'place"' himself unambiguously in the p i c t u r e — h e i s "decreation"", the better, i n Simone Well's? sense, to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a process of creation. - 1 3 0 -Such "decreation" 1 has l i t t l e to do with the h i s t o r i c a l and c u l t u r a l complex represented by the place, Nantucket, except insofar as i t also "decreates"'" the conventional view of Nantucket as i t devolves from that complex. What this "decreation"' does i s define certain ontological p r i o r i -t i e s . F i r s t , the flowers cannot exist simultaneously i n two places except through the superaddition of human cons-ciousness. In ordinary perception, a thing always exists both i n i t s place outside the body, and i t s image in the mind even though normal instrumental functioning demands that exterior presence be given p r i o r i t y . The f i r s t cou-plet of the poem therefore reproduces the a c t u a l i t y of the conditions by which a man perceives anything! "dual unity". But the consciousness which i s created through this repro-duction i s one which i s " r i d of the l y r i c a l interference of the ego"', f o r i t i s co-extensive 1 with that which oc-casions i t , the physical fact of the room—as indeed that i s co-extensive with i t . This peculiar and problematic r e l a t i o n i s remarked upon by the poet himself i n another context:-The inevitable f l u x of the seeing eye toward measuring i t s e l f by the world i t inhabits can only r e s u l t in himself crushing humiliation unless the indi v i d u a l can raise t s i c j to some approximate co-extension with the universe. This i s possible by aid of the imagination. 2 1 See J. H i l l i s M i l l e r , Poets of Reality, (Cambriage, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 196"5) s pp. 283-296. 2 "Spring and A l l " r , William Carlos Williams, pp. 16-17. -131-When I say t h a t the r e a d e r i s " d e e r e a t e d " by the poem, I mean t h a t h i s p r e c o n c e p t i o n s a r e n u l l i f i e d , and t h a t t h e p a r t i c u l a r i z e d " s e l f " o r "ego 1" w h i c h i s the t o t a l i t y o f these p r e c o n c e p t i o n s g i v e s p l a c e t o what C o l e r i d g e c a l l e d "the i n f i n i t e I AM" 1, t h a t i s , the p r i m o r d i a l p o s s i b i l i t y of human b e i n g as b e i n g . He must s u b o r d i n a t e h i s i n d i v i -d u a l and p e r s o n a l v o l i t i o n , i t s l i m i t e d concerns and pos-s i b i l i t i e s , t o the w i l l o f the poem. D e m o n i a c a l l y , h i s consc i o u s n e s s ' o f the poem i s i n t i m a t e l y h i s , but not h i s a l o n e i n s o f a r as i t s s o u r c e and a c t i o n b e l ongs t o some Other . Hence, the r e a d e r becomes c o - e x t e n s i v e w i t h some5 Other and w i t h the " u n i v e r s e " ' w h i c h i t c o n s t i t u t e s . The " d e c r e a t i o n " ' w h i c h the poem a c c o m p l i s h e s i s a d i s s i p a t i o n o f ^ e m p i r i c a l " r e a l i t y , of p r e c o n c e p t i o n and s e l f - c o n c e p -t i o n a x i o m a t i c t o the e x i s t e n c e o f e m p i r i c a l o b s e r v a t i o n . At the r i s k of d i g r e s s i o n , I should r e c a l l C o l e r i d g e ' s comments on p r i m a r y and secondary i m a g i n a t i o n , and the " I n f i n i t e I AM":-The i m a g i n a t i o n then I c o n s i d e r e i t h e r as p r i m -a r y , or secondary. The p r i m a r y i m a g i n a t i o n I h o l d t o be the l i v i n g power and prime agent o f a l l human p e r c e p t i o n , and as a r e p e t i t i o n i n the f i n i t e mind o f the e t e r n a l a c t o f c r e a t i o n i n t h e i n f i n i t e I AM. The secondary I c o n s i d e r as an echo o f the fo r m e r , c o - e x i s t i n g w i t h t h e c o n s c i o u s w i l l , y e t s t i l l as i d e n t i c a l w i t h the p r i m a r y i n the k i n d of i t s agency, and d i f f e r i n g o n l y i n degree, and i n the mode of i t s o p e r a t i o n . I t d i s s o l v e s , d i f f u s e s , d i s s i p a t e s , i n o r d e r t o 1 B l o g r a p h i a L i t e r a r i a . p, 167. -132-r e - c r e a t e ; or where t h i s p r o c e s s i s rendered i m p o s s i b l e , y e t s t i l l , a t a l l - / e v e n t s , " i t f l S t E U g -g l e s t o i d e a l i z e and t o u n i f y . I t i s e s s e n t i a l l y v i t a l , even as a l l o b j e c t s (as o b j e c t s ) a re es-s e n t i a l l y f i x e d and d e a d . l The " I n f i n i t e I AM", as I have n o t e d , c o r r e s p o n d s t o human b e i n g i n a l l i t s p o s s i b i l i t y . The a p p r e h e n s i o n of such be-i n g i s o n l y p o s s i b l e when the a c t by which the " ' f i n i t e mind" i s c r e a t e d i s r e p e a t e d or reproduced i n the mind. S i n c e the "pr i m a r y i m a g i n a t i o n " c o r r e s p o n d s t o the " e t e r n a l a c t o f c r e a t i o n i n the i n f i n i t e I AM"' w h i c h i s human b e i n g , the r e a l i t y o f t h i s a c t i s n o m i n a l l y i m a g i n a t i v e r a t h e r than e m p i r i c a l . As S i r P h i l i p Sidney notes i n h i s famous "Apology f o r P o e t r y " 2 , the poet does not p r e t e n d t o be o t h e r t h a n i m a g i n a t i v e , and t h i s , i n the G o l e r i d g e a n scheme, must be the s t r e n g t h of p o e t r y . "Secondary i m a g i n a t i o n " i s a p r o c e s s by w h i c h the " p r i m a r y i m a g i n a t i o n " a c h i e v e s i t s end i n t h i s sense, f o r i t " d i s s o l v e s , d i f f u s e s , and d i s -s i p a t e s " those s t r u c t u r e s of mind and m a t t e r w h i c h would impose e m p i r i c a l s t a n d a r d s of " t r u t h " where they do not a p p l y . The "secondary i m a g i n a t i o n " ' i s t h a t p r o c e s s by which the r e a d e r " w i l l s not t o w i l l " ' , t h a t i s , " l e t s t h i n g s be"' i n H e i d e g g e r ' s - s e n s e ^ i t i n i t i a t e s " w i l l i n g s u s p e n s i o n 1 B i o g r a p h i a L i t e r a r i a , p. 167. 2 "An Apology f o r Poetry"', The Major C r i t i c s , pp. 4-6-70. Sidney w r i t e s , "the p o e t , he n o t h i n g a f f i r m s , and t h e r e f o r e n o t h i n g l i e t h " , p. 59. 3 See Heide g g e r ' s "Memorial Address"' i n D i s c o u r s e on T h i n k i n g where the p h i l o s o p h e r makes such comments as,""^medi-t a t i v e t h i n k i n g does not happen j u s t by i t s e l f any more than does c a l c u l a t i v e t h i n k i n g . . . . i t r e q u i r e s g r e a t e r e f f o r t " ' , pp. 4-6-4-7. -133-of d i s b e l i e f " , " d e c r e a t i n g " ' t h e l i m i t i n g power of t h e f i n i t e "T am"'. The r e a d e r s h o u l d not be s u r p r i s e d t h a t " N a n t u c k e t " d e v i a t e s i n i t s v e r y f i r s t l i n e s b oth from h i s " c u l t u r a l " p r e c o n c e p t i o n s as t o the p l a c e , and from h i s o r d i n a r y way of u n d e r s t a n d i n g i n a more b a s i c sense. The poem does not p u r p o r t t o be N a n t u c k e t ; i t p u r p o r t s f i r s t and f o r e m o s t to be a poem; s e c o n d a r i l y , i t p u r p o r t s t o p r e s e n t a sem-b l a n c e of the human r e a l i t y of N a n t u c k e t . What t h e poem "Nant u c k e t " does i s t o r e c r e a t e the c o n d i t i o n s w h i c h g i v e r i s e t o a l l t h a t i s a c t u a l and pos-s i b l e i n the p l a c e , N a n t u c k e t . The mode by w h i c h t h i s new and p a r t i c u l a r i z e d r e a l i t y comes t o b e i n g i s a new " w o r l d " . What the r e a d e r knows of "Nant u c k e t " i s h i s t o r i c a l l y g i v e n , a m i x t u r e o f f a c t and legend w h i c h may or may not be t r u e , but i s i n e v i t a b l y "dead"' u n l e s s the i m a g i n a t i o n can v i t a l -i z e i t . W i l l i a m s w r i t e s , We can b e g i n by s a y i n g r No o p i n i o n can be t r u s t e d even the f a c t s may be n o t h i n g but a p r i n t e r ' s e r -r o r ; but i f a v e r d i c t be unanimous, i t i s s u r e to be the wrong one, a crude r u s h of the herd w h i c h has c a r r i e d i t s o b j e c t b e f o r e i t l i k e a h e l p l e s s condoning image. I f we cannot make a man l i v e when he i s gone, i t i s b o o r i s h to im-p r i s o n him dead w i t h i n some narrow d e f i n i t i o n , when, were he i n h i s shoes b e f o r e us we c o u l d not do i t . I t f ; s l i e s such h i s t o r y , and dangerous H i s t o r y must " l i v e " ' i n t h e " c u l t u r a l " ' e x t e n s i o n s w h i c h a r e the 1 end of a r t and p o e t r y . T h i s i s the sense i n w h i c h '"Nantucket" succeeds, f o r i t r e p r e s e n t s the h i s t o r i c a l 1 I n the American G r a i n , pp. 1 8 9 - 9 0 . c o n d i t i o n s o f a p a r t i c u l a r " c u l t u r a l " ' s i t u a t i o n by cons-t i t u t i n g a p r e s e n t w i t h i n t h e scope of human b e i n g . F l o w e r s t h r o u g h t h e window l a v e n d e r and y e l l o w a r e changed by w h i t e c u r t a i n s - -s m e l l of c l e a n l i n e s s — Sunshine o f l a t e a f t e r n o o n - -The f l o r a l s p l e n d o r of the f l o w e r s , the g r o w i n g , s p r e a d i n g s e n s u o s i t y of " n a t u r e " t r a n s f o r m s the room, and i s t r a n s -formed by the room: "changed by w h i t e c u r t a i n s " 1 . The ©oom i s l i v e d i n ; i t embodies an o r d e r s p e c i f i c to a man and a "world"'. What grows from the e a r t h , or i n a more meta-p h y s i c a l sense f r o m the "earth"', s p i l l s over i n t o the m i n i s c u l e " w o r l d " of the room. Here i s a " r i s s " a p r o c e s s of i n t e r l o c k i n g " n a t u r a l " and " c u l t u r a l " r e l a t i o n s some-how fundamental to Nantucket as a p l a c e w i t h an ongoing h i s t o r y . The w h i t e n e s s of the c u r t a i n s q u a l i f i e s t h e co-l o u r of the f l o w e r , but i n so d o i n g r e f l e c t s t h a t c o l o u r . The c l e a n s m e l l o f the room r e f l e c t s the n e a t n e s s of i t s owner, and h i s " n a t u r a l " ' a ntagonism towards the chaos of the "earth"'; "-smell"' of c l e a n l i n e s s " ' thus q u a l i f i e s s e n s u a l f e c u n d i t y w h i c h i s i m p l i c i t i n the image o f the f l o w e r s . The p h r a s e does more th a n t h i s ; i n f a c t , i t c a l l s f o r t h an a t -t r i b u t e of the f l o w e r s not mentioned to t h i s p o i n t : t h e i r f r a g r a n c e . The s t a t i c o r d e r o f the " w o r l d " opposes, but i s i n t e r -p e n e t r a t e d by, the f l u x of s e n s a t i o n w h i c h i s the " e a r t h " . -13*-There can be no escape from t h i s i n t e r p e n e t r a t i o n , f o r what e x i s t s i n the room e x i s t s i n our p e r c e p t i o n a c c o r d i n g t o " n a t u r a l " ' l a w s . What the r e a d e r sees i s i l l u m i n a t e d by "Sunshine of l a t e a f t e r n o o n " , a m e l l o w i n g y e l l o w l i g h t w h i c h changes the p e r c e p t i o n s w h i c h i t makes p o s s i b l e . T h i s Nantucket i s not t h e Nantucket o f M e l v i l l e , nor o f the P u r i t a n s , but an outgrowth o f the t r a d i t i o n t hey r e -p r e s e n t , a s e n s u o u s l y c o n c e i v e d p a r t i c u l a r i t y w h i c h seeks the u n i v e r s a l b a s i s , t h e o n t o l o g i c a l " t r u t h " of the t r a d i -t i o n i t s e l f . The poem e x e m p l i f i e s what W i l l i a m s means when he w r i t e s , B e i n g an a r t i s t I can pr o d u c e , i f I am a b l e , un-i v e r s a l s of g e n e r a l a p p l i c a b i l i t y . I f I succeed i n k e e p i n g m y s e l f o b j e c t i v e enough, s e n s u a l en-ough, I can produce the f a c t o r s , the c o n c r e t i o n s o f m a t e r i a l s by w h i c h o t h e r s s h a l l understand and so be l e d t o u s e — t h a t they may the b e t t e r see, t o u c h , t a s t e , e n j o y — t h e i r own w o r l d d i f f e r i n g as i t may from mine. By mine, t h e y , d i f f e r e n t , can be d i s c o v e r e d t o be the same as I , and thrown i n -to c o n t r a s t , will;-jsee the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f a g e n e r a l enjoyment t h r o u g h me. T h a t — a l l my l i f e I have s t r i v e n t o emphasize i t — i s what I meant by the u n i v e r s a l i t y of the l o c a l . Prom me where I s t a n d to them where they s t a n d i n t h e i r here and now--where I cannot be--I do i n s p i t e o f t h a t a r r i v e ! t h r ough t h e i r work wh i c h complements my own, each s e n s u a l l y l o c a l . T h i s i s the g e n e r o s i t y a l s o o f a r t . I t c l o s e s up the r a n k s o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g . I t shows the world a t one w i t h i t s e l f . And i t i s t h e o r e t i c a l , as op-posed t o p h i l o s o p h y , most t h e o r e t i c a l when i t i s down on the ground, most s e n s u a l , most r e a l . P i c k i n g out a f l o w e r or a b i r d i n d e t a i l t h a t becomes an a b s t r a c t term of e n l i g h t e n m e n t . 1 The town of Nantucket denotes a c e r t a i n "world"*, a h i s t o r -1 " A g a i n s t t h e Weather"', S e l e c t e d E s s a y s , pp. I97-I98. -136-i c a l l y f i x e d c o n c e p t i o n w i t h g i v e n p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The poem p a r t i c u l a r i z e s t h i s c o n c e p t i o n i n terms of a r e a l i t y w h i c h adheres t o c o n d i t i o n s b o t h b a s i c t o i t and t o the r e a d e r . T h i s r e a l i t y i s t h e p a r t i c u l a r i t y o f the poem w h i c h , i n e x i s t i n g t h r o u g h i t s e l f i s d i f f e r e n t from a l l e l s e , and can f i n d s i g n i f i c a n c e o n l y i n apparent r e l a t i o n -s h i p s , t h a t i s , i n p o s s i b i l i t i e s , r a t h e r than a c t u a l i t i e s . The p a r t i c u l a r i t y o f the poem t h e r e f o r e i n d i v i d u a l i z e s a " c u l t u r a l " * concept i n two se n s e s : f i r s t , i t p r e s e n t s t h e h i s t o r i c a l concept i n a p a r t i c u l a r i z e d t r a d i t i o n a l way; s e c o n d l y , i t e x p r e s s e s the u n i v e r s a l i t y of t h a t c o n c e p t , i t s b e i n g . The r e a d e r need never have been i n Nantucket to a p p r e c i a t e the g e n e r a l a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f the poem t h e r e -f o r e . . V I I ' The L y r i c a l A m b i g u i t y of " N a n t u c k e t " How does the poem co n c l u d e ? On the g l a s s t r a y A " g l a s s p i t c h e r , the tu m b l e r t u r n e d down, by,which a key i s l y i n g — A n d the immaculate w h i t e bed. The imagery o f the poem changes g r a d u a l l y as t h e poem p r o -g r e s s e s : i t becomes more p a r t i c u l a r i z e d and more and more o b j e c t i v e l y o f a "world"'. Prom the f l o w e r s we move t o a g l a s s t r a y , a p i t c h e r , "the tumbler/' turned down", a key, a n d . f i n a l l y "the immaculate w h i t e bed". A l l o f the s e ob-- 1 3 7 -j e c t s a r e of human use. But they a r e not in use. They s t a n d i n s t a r k c o n t r a d i s t i n c t i o n t o the f e c u n d i t y and change of the o u t s i d e w o r l d . They i m p l y an o r d e r w h i c h e x i s t s f o r i t s e l f , and i s w i t h o u t g e n e r a t i v e power. The r e l e v a n c e o f such a c o n c e p t i o n t o the " P u r i t a n s e n s i b i l i t y " i s so o b v i o u s t h a t i t h a r d l y admits t o comment. The concep-t i o n i s not o n l y r e l e v a n t t o t h i s s e n s i b i l i t y , however. A f t e r a l l , from whence d i d t h a t s e n s i b i l i t y s p r i n g but from the same human c o n d i t i o n w h i c h everyone s h a r e s ? The c o n c e p t i o n r e l a t e s . j t o the p r i m o r d i a l c o n f l i c t of "world"' and "earth"', i * e * , the c o n f l i c t o f " c u l t u r e " ' a n d "nature"' i n t h e i r b r o a d e s t s e n s e s . The room i s c l e a r l y not s e p a r a t e from "nature"'; nor i s i t s "world"'. A l l " c u l t u r a l " ' o r d e r s i n some sense e x i s t f o r t h e m s e l v e s , as does the p e r p e t u a l c r e a t i v e n e s s c f the "earth"'. The "immaculate w h i t e bed"' s i g n i f i e s t h i s s e l f - c o n t a i n e d o r d e r \</hich i s s t e r i l e and u n p r o d u c t i v e i f not used. Only i f the owner of the room were dead, c o u l d the o r d e r w h i c h i s d e p i c t e d remain as i t i s , the room l o c k e d a g a i n s t the o u t s i d e w o r l d . Now, perhaps the owner i s dead. P e r h a p s , he i s a man whose p r e f e r e n c e f o r o r d e r exceeds h i s d e s i r e to e x p e r i e n c e the v i t a l i t y w h i c h i n h e r e s i n the f l u x of "nature"'. P e r h a p s , on the o t h e r hand, he i s merely a b s e n t , l i k e the absent god of H e i d e g g e r ' s temple. These t h i n g s a r e a d e r cannot know. T h i s a m b i g u i t y n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g , " n a t u r e " and " c u l t u r e " 1 , o r d e r and d i s o r d e r , a r e l o c k e d i n a p e c u l i a r i n t i m a c y . - 1 3 8 -I f the owner i s dead, then " n a t u r e " t r i u m p h s , not o n l y i n the sense t h a t the man r e t u r n s t o the e a r t h from \tfhich he s p r i n g s , but i n the sense t h a t each o f the o b j e c t s w h i c h b e l o n g t o him a r e suddenly d e p r i v e d of t h e i r " c u l t u r a l " ' use and conc o m i t a n t s i g n i f i c a n c e . T h i s i s so whether the r e a d e r presumes the man a c t u a l l y or o n l y s p i r i t u a l l y dead. On the o t h e r hand, i f the man i s a l i v e , the o b j e c t s f u l f i l t h e i r " c u l t u r a l " purpose w h i c h i s the s a t i s f a c t i o n o f " n a t -u r a l " ' wants. I n e i t h e r c a s e , "world"' and " e a r t h " meet and b a l a n c e one a n o t h e r , r e p r e s e n t i n g t h a t o n t o l o g i c a l t e n s i o n f undamental to human b e i n g . The a m b i g u i t y o f the poem t h e r e f o r e i s the a m b i g u i t y o f d e p t h . The poem e n a c t s the p r i m o r d i a l c o n f l i c t and i n t i m a c y of "world"' and " e a r t h " . I n s o f a r as the e x p e r i e n c e o f the poem i s understood i n t h i s f a s h i o n i t c o n s t i t u t e s an a u t h e n t i c " r i s s " , f o r t o r e c o g n i z e such p r i m o r d i a l i t y i s to admit i t as the b a s i s of one's own b e i n g . The poem "happens", and i n i t s happening adds t o one's sense o f " c u l t u r a l " h i s -t o r y and " n a t u r a l " e x i s t e n c e . The p l a c e , N a n t u c k e t , becomes more than i t s p a s t h i s t o r y , more than l e g e n d , more th a n " P u r i t a n s e n s i b i l i t y " , more than any n o t i o n o f " c u l t u r a l " m i l i e u : the p l a c e becomes the r e a d e r ' s , as i n some sense, he becomes i t s . To p e r c e i v e the c o m p l e x i t y of the poem, the m u l t i p l i c i t y , - ; - c f i t s s i g n i f i c a t i o n s and a s s o c i a t i o n s i s t o become c o - e x t e n s i v e w i t h i t i n d e f i a n c e o f any s i n -g u l a r concept o f " t r u t h " . As Stevens s a y s , - 1 3 9 -Tne t r u t h seems t o he t h a t we l i v e i n co n c e p t s of the i m a g i n a t i o n b e f o r e the r e a s o n has e s t a b -l i s h e d them. I f t h i s i s t r u e ^ then the r e a s o n ' i s s i m p l y the m e t h o d i z e r o f the i m a g i n a t i o n . ! "Nantucket"' i s not a poem w h i c h can be "methodized" by the r e a s o n t o y i e l d a s i n g l e , l o g i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n w h i c h might be the b a s i s f o r p a r a p h r a s e . The o n l y s i n g u l a r l y c o n s i s t e n t d e f i n i t i o n o f i t s i m a g i n a t i v e c o n t e n t i s i t s f orm, the words upon the page as o b j e c t s i n r e l a t i o n t o one a n o t h e r and to the s u b j e c t who apprehends them. V I I $ Some L i n g u i s t i c Concepts I f one examines the " m a t t e r " of the poem; t h a t i s the f a c t c f i t s f o r m a l s t r u c t u r e , i t v / i l l be a p p a r e n t , however, t h a t i t cannot be s e p a r a t e d i n any s a t i s f a c t o r y way from the co n t e n t w h i c h a r i s e s from i t . ' The form o f the poem i s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y p r e s e n t a t i o n a l and e x p r e s s i v e w i t h o u t y i e l d -i n g t o the p r i n c i p l e s of o r d i n a r y i n d u c t i v e or d e d u c t i v e l o g i c . 1 L o g i c , as many l o g i c i a n s have p o i n t e d out i n con-c e r t w i t h l i n g u i s t s l i k e Whorf and S a p i r , 2 i s as much a f u n c -t i o n of l i n g u i s t i c s t r u c t u r e as any o t h e r . S i n c e E n g l i s h i s an " a n a l y t i c " language which, f u n c t i o n s i n terms of sen-t e n c e s d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g t h e i r s u b j e c t s and p r e d i c a t e s as s e p a r a t e s t r u c t u r e s o f the same though t . 3 " N a n t u c k e t " i s d e v i a n t b o t h l i n g u i s t i c a l l y and a n a l y t i c a l l y , f o r i t i s a 1 See E r n s t C a s s i r e r , The L o g i c of the H u m a n i t i e s (New Haven:- Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 196*0), pp. I b 2 - 2 1 7 . 2 See G i l b e r t R y l e , The Concept of Mind (London: Hut-c h i n s o n , 194-9), PP. 7 - 2 3 . 3 c f . Immanuel K a n t , The C r i t i a u e o f Pure Reason, t r a n s . M. M u l l e r (New Y o r k : Doubleday, 1966), pp. 7-12. -140-" ' s y n t h e t i c " ' or even " p o l y s y n t h e t i c " ' u t t e r a n c e i n l i n e w i t h S'apir's d e f i n i t i o n s of the terms, An a n a l y t i c language i s one t h a t e i t h e r does not combine concepts i n t o s i n g l e words a t a l l ( C h i n e s e ) or does so e c o n o m i c a l l y ( E n g l i s h , F r e n c h ) . I n an a n a l y t i c language the sentence i s always of prime i m p o r t a n c e , the word i s of minor i n t e r e s t . I n a s y n t h e t i c language ( L a t i n , ' A r a b i c , F i n n i s h ) the con c e p t s c l u s t e r more t h i c k l y , the words a r e more r i c h l y chambered, but t h e r e i s a tendency on" the whole, t o keep the range of c o n c r e t e s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the s i n g l e word down t o a moderate compass. A' p o l y s y n t h e t i c l a n g u a g e , as i t s name i m p l i e s , i s more than o r d i n a r i l y s y n t h e t i c . . The e l a b o r a -t i o n o f the word i s extreme. Concepts w h i c h we would never dream o f t r e a t i n g i n a s u b o r d i n a t e f a s h i o n a r e s y m b o l i z e d by d e r i v a t i o n a l a f f i x e s or " s y m b o l i c " changes i n the r a d i c a l element, w h i l e the more a b s t r a c t n o t i o n s , i n c l u d i n g the s y n t a c t i c r e l a t i o n s , may a l s o be conveyed by the word.. A p o l y s y n t h e t i c language i l l u s t r a t e s no p r i n c i p l e s t h a t a r e not a l r e a d y e x e m p l i f i e d i n the more f a m i l i a r s y n t h e t i c languages.- I t i s r e l a t e d t o them v e r y much as a s y n t h e t i c language i s r e l a t e d t o our own a n a l y t i c E n g l i s h . The t h r e e terms a r e p u r e l y q u a n t i t a t i v e — a n d r e l a t i v e , t h a t i s , a language may be " a n a l y t i c " ' from one s t a n d -p o i n t , " s y n t h e t i c " f rom a n o t h e r . I b e l i e v e the terms a r e more u s e f u l i n d e f i n i n g c e r t a i n d r i f t s than as a b s o l u t e c o u n t e r s . I t i s o f t e n i l l u m i -n a t i n g t o p o i n t out t h a t a language has been be-coming more and more a n a l y t i c i n t h e c o u r s e o f i t s h i s t o r y or t h a t i t shows s i g n s of h a v i n g c r y s -t a l i z e d f r om a s i m p l e a n a l y t i c base i n t o a h i g h -l y s y n t h e t i c f o r m . l G i v e n t h e s e d e f i n i t i o n s , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t i n "Nantucket"' the sentence i s not of prime importance as i t ought t o be i n an " a n a l y t i c " s t a t e m e n t . By c o n v e n t i o n , the p o e t i c l i n e i s a l l o w e d to c o n s t i t u t e an e x t r a - g r a m m a t i c a l 1 Language, p. 127 -14-1-s y n t a c t i c p a t t e r n o f i t s own w h i c h i n e v i t a b l y throws e x t r a emphasis on i n d i v i d u a l words. Moreover, s i n c e the poem c o n s i s t s of a s e r i e s of e l l i p t i c a l , r o u g h l y p a r a l l e l s t a t e -ments, i t s language i s o v e r d e t e r m i n e d to the e x t e n t t h a t one must a t t r i b u t e p r e d i c a t i v e f u n c t i o n s t o o t h e r w i s e nom-i n a t i v e words, or a c c e p t the statements as i n c o m p l e t e , i f not i l l o g i c a l . By c o n v e n t i o n a g a i n , p o e t i c statement i s c o n s t r u e d as complete wherever p o s s i b l e . C o n s i d e r F e n o l -l o s a r s statement on the p o e t i c n a t u r e of the Chinese i d e o -graph r A t r u e noun, an i s o l a t e d t h i n g , does not e x i s t i n n a t u r e . Things a r e o n l y t h e t e r m i n a l p o i n t s , o r r a t h e r the meeting p o i n t s of a c t i o n s , c r o s s - s e c t i o n s c u t through a c t i o n s , s n a p - s h o t s . N e i t h e r can a pure v e r b , an a b s t r a c t n o t i o n , be p o s s i b l e i n n a t u r e . The eye sees noun and v e r b as one: t h i n g s i n m o t i o n , motion i n t h i n g s . . . . 1 F e n o l l o s a ' s statement i s perhaps t r u e r of the n a t u r e o f p o e t r y t h a n , as has been noted e l s e w h e r e , of the n a t u r e o f the C h inese i d e o g r a p h . 2 The axiom " w i l l i n g s u s p e n s i o n o f d i s b e l i e f m a d j u r e s the r e a d e r t o a c c e p t the p o e t i c s t a t e -ment as m a t e r i a l l y complete; t h a t i s , as a s y n t h e t i c or p o l y s y n t h e t i c u t t e r a n c e . And i n d e e d , i n "Nantucket"' t h i s i n j u n c t i o n makes c o n s i d e r a b l e sense, f o r i t i s o n l y i n these terms, t h a t the o n t o l o g i c a l u n d e r p i n n i n g s of the poem become a p p a r e n t . The " f l o w e r s " ' f l o w e r ; the "window" windows; " l a v e n d e r " ' l a v e n d e r s ; " y e l l o w " : y e l l o w s . Each 1 E r n e s t F e n o l l o s a , "The Chinese W r i t t e n C h a r a c t e r as a Medium f o r Poetry"', P r o s e Keys to Modern P o e t r y , ed. K. S h a p i r o (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), p. 14-1. 2 See Makoto Ueda, Zeami, Basho. Yeats,Pound (The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1965), pp. l l O - l T X ; " -142-word be a r s an i m p l i c i t n o m i n a t i v e and p r e d i c a t i v e r e l a t i o n t o e v e r y o t h e r word, but e s p e c i a l l y those i n p r o x i m i t y , and t h i s makes i t p o s s i b l e t o impute the p e c u l i a r t r a n s f o r m a t i o n a l q u a l i t y of each image t o eve r y o t h e r , as i n the f i r s t l i n e s , F l o w e r s through the window l a v e n d e r and y e l l o w changed by w h i t e c u r t a i n s — s m e l l of c l e a n l i n e s s - - -where the r e c i p r o c a l r e l a t i o n o f each o b j e c t to every o t h e r , and the i n t e r p e n e t r a t i o n of each i s p a r t i c u l a r i z e d . The o v e r d e t e r m i n a t i o n of l i n g u i s t i c v a r i a b l e s makes the poem "ambiguous"' or p a r a d o x i c a l i n t h e everyday sense of t h e s e terms, but by such means the poem t a k e s on i t s m u l t i - v a l u e d c o m p l e x i o n , and a s s e r t s a l e g i t i m a t e demand f o r a c c e p t a n c e and a c q u i e s c e n t c o n t e m p l a t i d n . I n t r a n s g r e s s i n g the l i m i -t a t i o n s o f o r d i n a r y l a n g u a g e , and i n p r a c t i c i n g i t s l i c e n c e to d e v i a t e from the o r d i n a r y p r i n c i p l e s o f l o g i c , grammati-c a l i t y , and p o e t i c c o n v e n t i o n , the poem "happens" as an o r i g i n a l and o r i g i n a t i v e language e v e n t , a \«/hole th o u g h t , embedding what was p r e v i o u s l y the " w o r l d " i n a new " e a r t h " ' so t h a t i t i s born anew. 7-III A C o n c l u s i o n I must r e i t e r a t e A l f r e d N o r t h Whitehead's d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e beauty of appearance, -143-Appearance i s b e a u t i f u l when the q u a n t i t a t i v e o b j e c t s w h i c h compose i t are i n t e r w o v e n i n pa-t t e r n e d c o n t r a s t s , so t h a t the p r e h e n s i o n s o f the whole of i t s p a r t s produces the f u l l e s t harmony o f mutual s u p p o r t . By t h i s i t i s meant, t h a t i n so f a r as t h e q u a l i t a t i v e c h a r a c t e r s of the whole and the p a r t s pass i n t o the s u b j e c t i v e forms o f t h e i r p r e h e n s i o n s , the whole h e i g h t e n s the f e e l i n g s f o r the p a r t s , and the p a r t s h e i g h t -en the f e e l i n g s of the whole, and f o r each o t h e r . T h i s i s harmony o f f e e l i n g ; and w i t h harmony of f e e l i n g i t s o b j e c t i v e c o n t e n t i s b e a u t i f u l . 1 The " p a t t e r n e d c o n t r a s t s " ' w h i c h one p e r c e i v e s i n "Nant u c k e t " a r e not o n l y p e r c e p t u a l , but c o n c e p t u a l . Moreover, i t i s c l e a r t h a t t h i s "harmony of mutual s u p p o r t " w h i c h i s the  poem bears o n l y a " f a m i l y resemblance"' to any o t h e r a e s t h e -t i c , e x p e r i e n t i a l , or l i n g u i s t i c object:- i t i s un i q u e , and t h e r e f o r e has autonomous r e a l i t y . I n the c o n f o r m a t i o n of the components of i t s "appearance"' t o one a n o t h e r , and i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p t o b o t h the r e a l i t y w h i c h they r e f l e c t and the r e a l i t y w hich they embody, the poem a c h i e v e s a b r e a d t h o f s i g n i f i c a n c e w h i c h f a r s u r p a s s e s the r e a d e r ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s . T h i s t r a n s c e n d e n c e f i n a l l y i s the u l t i m a t e t e s t , f o r the a b i l i t y of a poem to c o n t i n u a l l y amaze i s the t r u e s t p r o o f o f i t s v a l i d i t y . I n t h i s sense o n l y does the poem have a r c h e -t y p a l s i g n i f i c a n c e : - i t does not r e f l e c t an a r e h a i c e x p e r i e n c e , nor an i n s t i n c t u a l tendency. Jung w r i t e s , The a r c h e t y p e i s a tendency t o f o r m such r e p r e -s e n t a t i o n s of a m o t i f - - r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s t h a t can v a r y a g r e a t d e a l i n d e t a i l w i t h o u t l o s i n g t h e i r b a s i c p a t t e r n . 2 1 A d v e n t u r e s o f I d e a s , p. 344. 2 C a r l Jung, Man and H i s Symbols (New York: D e l l , 1964), p. 58. -l¥+-The a r c h e t y p a l power of a poem does not i n h e r e i n i t s con-f o r m i t y t o a m o t i f , but i n the o r i g i n a l i t y w h i c h d i s t i n g u i s h e s i f f r o m a l l presumed p r e - e x i s t e n t m o t i f s or p a t t e r n s . g r e a t poem i s not an i m i t a t i o n of an e x p e r i e n c e , however v i t a l t h a t e x p e r i e n c e might be, i t i s an e x p r e s s i o n of the e s s e n t i a l c o n d i t i o n s w h i c h i n i t i a t e d and i n i t i a t e a t i l l s uch e x p e r i e n c e . I n t h i s s ense, the g r e a t poem f o r c e s e x p e r i e n c e , the everyday c o n s c i o u s and u n c o n s c i o u s l i f e o f t h e human b e i n g , t o conform n ot t o i t s own a c t u a l i t y , but t o a p r i m o r d i a l p o s s i b i l i t y . -14-5-BIBL IO'GRAPHY7 Abrams, M.Hi, ed. L i t e r a t u r e and B e l i e f . New Y o r k r Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press-, 19^8. Adams, Hazard. The I n t e r e s t s of C r i t i c i s m . - New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t , Brace and W o r l d , 1969. A l l e n , H a r o l d B'i, ed. A p p l i e d E n g l i s h L i n g u i s t i c s . New; York: A p p l e t o n - C e n t u r y - C ' r o f t s , 196 If7 B a c h e l a r d , Gaston. The P o e t i c s of Space. T r a n s . E. G i l s o n . New York: O r i o n P r e s s , 1964-. . The P s y c h o a n a l y s i s of F i r e . T r a n s . A. C M . Ross. B o s t o n : Beacon P r e s s , 1964-. B a r n e t , S y l v a n , M. Berman and W i l l i a m B u r t o , ed. 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