Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Today is Definitions-of-Lyric Day at Cahiers de Corey. Leonard Schwartz: "Transcendental lyric, then, involves an art in which language is used in such a way as to produce at least the illusion of the presence of regions of being outside personal experience, an art in which subjectivity is again given access to the outside—a 'vision' which happens when image and idea are no longer separable, the contents of thought and the contents of the eye attaining a kind of synesthesia. Indeed, by its very nature the lyric is transcendental, desiring to go beyond the immediate so as to detach from the contingent fictions of the world, and not merely in a purely formal sense, but with the force of an ecstatic throb."

What unites this definition with Stroffolino's is its provisional, fictional, even hasty (if we associate lyric with speed or at least brevity) nature; lyric as metaphysical bricolage, an improvised Archimedean point. What's strange about this is the notion it brings of thousands of lyric Rube Goldberg machines littering the landscape, more or less detached from the occasions they were cries of. What do readers make of them? Does their functionality reside in our ability as readers to add components from our own experience, to start the egg rolling down the chute again?

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