Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm glad that everything I had wanted to add to the paraphrase/meaning discussion already got said. For me, the only way into the full experience of the poem is through an attempt to account for or paraphrase what's going on as I read it--even Gertrude Stein or Clark Coolidge. I'm not sure I know how to read words without producing mental words (or sometimes images, a visual or sensual paraphrase). Then, when and if I feel the failure of that paraphrase to do justice to all of the multiple levels of sense and experience at play, I know I'm in the presence of magnificence. As O'Hara, always a good closer, says: "I’m not saying that I don’t have practically the most lofty ideas of anyone writing today, but what difference does that make? They’re just ideas. The only good thing about it is that when I get lofty enough I’ve stopped thinking and that’s when refreshment arrives."

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