Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Off to Chicago tomorrow morning to help celebrate my dad's 60th birthday. We're going to eat a lot of hot dogs with sport peppers, visit the Art Institute, and take an architectural boat ride down the Chicago River, all with a minimum of family-induced stress. Hopefully. Tim, you still in the city with the big shoulders? I'll see the rest of you in blogland when we get back Sunday.

Here's a juicy quote from Muriel Rukeyser's The Life of Poetry, which I just discovered the other day, to tide you over till I get back:
   In our own time, we have become used to an idea of history in which process and relationship are stressed. The science of ecology is only one example of an elaboration of the idea, so that the life of land may be seen in terms of its tides of growth, the feeding of one group on another, the equilibrium reached, broken, and the drive toward another balance and renewal.
   We think of the weather now as a dance of airs, predictable in relationship, with its parades of clouds, the appetites of pressure areas, and aftermath of foreseen storms.
   But in the areas dealing with emotion and belief, there is hesitation. The terms have not been invented, and although that does not impede expressive writing—a poem, a novel, or a play act emotions out in terms of words, they do not describe—the lack does impede analytical work. We have no terms, for example, for "emotional meaning" or "emotional information." We have not even the English for Claude Bernard's "milieu interieur," that internal condition of a body, the invironment where live the inner relationships.
   That obstacle is nothing.
   We are poets; we can make the words.
   The emotional obstacle is the real one.
   For the question is asked in a thousand ways each day: Is poetry alive? Is there a place for poetry? What is that place?

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