"Brain, shake out thy water, dog-like." -- Ron Padgett

Thursday, October 31, 2013

CLASS 7: Images, Metaphors, Things

The writing activities are below, but first, some concepts and examples.

A. "No ideas but in things," - W. C. Williams

T.S. Eliot's Objective Correlative:
The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an "objective correlative"; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.

B. Metonyms (link goes to list of metonyms)
A metonym" is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept."

Synecdoche: A part of something is often used for the whole, as when people refer to "head" of cattle or assistants are referred to as "hands." Also, the whole of something is used for a part, as when people refer to a municipal employee as "the council" or police officers as "the law".

C. Leaping Poetry: from the conscious to the unconscious (Robert Bly: “Looking for Dragon Smoke.”


from Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock 
by T.S.Eliot 

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.


Goodbye as
The eyes of a whale say goodbye having never seen
Each other

-W.S. Merwin


he had a smile like a deckchair


“As beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table.” 
- Comte de Lautréaumont AKA Isidore Lucien Ducasse (1846 – 1870)


A kenning is a type of literary trope, specifically circumlocution, in the form of a compound (usually two words, often hyphenated) that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon poetry. For example, Old Norse poets might replace sverð, the regular word for “sword”, with a more abstract compound such as “wound-hoe” or ocean as "wave road,"
Modern and historial examples


1. Exercise: “Kenning-ize”

I drove in my car along the highway to get to the school.
When I got there, I ate a sandwich.
Then I climbed a tree and fell asleep.

2.  Ondaatje: Sweet like a Crow

NOTE: how the comparisons are the opposite, are generally negative, though said with a kind of loving irony
(compare to Gudding’s Defence of Poetry” http://www.wildhoneypress.com/Audio/defense.html)

Like Ondaatje, write apoem in the form of a list comparing things to the main thing described.

Your voice was like…

The …. was like…..

End with a ‘twist’ or surprise


Leonard Cohen: Take This Waltz. (based on Lorca)
Lorca original (English translation): https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/little-viennese-waltz/
Leonard Cohen's version "Take This Waltz"
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQm1OmLMNno


The Little Mute Boy
  by Federico García Lorca
translated by W. S. Merwin

The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

I do not want it for speaking with;
I will make a ring of it
so that he may wear my silence
on his little finger

In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

(The captive voice, far away,
put on a cricket's clothes.)


--item of clothing
--unusual colour
-sound in nature that fits this colour
--a continent or country or place
--a texture

b. WRITE: a poem about a journey for your lost sense:

-use your list (in order, if possible) to write a poem

Think about:

-how would you compensate without the sense?

-repetition of lines that talk about searching

-looking in unusual places that turn out to have some connection to the sense

--a wish to do something with the sense that might emphasize its loss or how much  you miss it

-what does the lost sense do without you?

(-what is the function of the parentheses in the original?}

-who's voice is the poem in? is it the same throughout?


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