Monday, April 26, 2004

Huzzah for Stan

The good folks at Epoch emptied their library of literary magazines recently, and I scored a copy of the Stan Brakhage issue of Chicago Review. Here are some quotes that make me happy:
from an October 16, 1990 letter to Ronald Johnson:

In the strict sense Olson says "Myth is mouth", all his then follow-up of "Muthos" so-forth, I'd take my stance that both Poetry and narrative "encompass myth", yes; but I come to this logic also along-a-line of Hollis Frampton's only finding about 5 stories in the whole history of being human: he compared them to the 5 birdsongs: (1) Good morning, (2) I found a worm, (3) Fuck me, (4) Get out, and (5) Good night.... Anyway, the RESISTANCE is all—or at least worth the effort inasmuch as it tests the limits of known story, melody, and so on. I personally come more and more to believe (and a belief is all I can claim for it) that a biological evolution of aesthetics (i.e. an aesthetic base on the sense organs themselves, their inner processes—rather than just the immediate reception of the external world, the fashioning input into stories, symbols, soforth/muthos) would reval an outside limit of being human (what Olson called for, again and again, those last years) and thus a natural set of forms, therefore a being natural.

from a conversation between Brakhage, Johnson, and Jim Shedden:

SB: ....I'm paying homage to and re-presenting nature as one aspect of my work, and creating anew in thanks for what's been given to me. But also there is that thing I have—my sense of those cave beginnings, or any kid making a collection and storing it somewhere in the attic, hiding it, showing it maybe to his or her closest friend: all that is the anomaly of being human and being at odds with the given phenomenological world.
RJ: I've written a piece called "Hurrah for Euphony" for a young poet, where I say, "Poetry is quick with specifics. "Quick" points to "the quick and the dead." When you get the specific things, that's where poetry is alive.
SB: That's where film starts becoming picture, or illustration, so that's a danger for film as I see it. But what film can do is lift these specifics so they can be made to reverberate. You can create inferences, since the eye is always roving. The eye is very open to a reverberating spread of what we would call metaphor, I guess, in language, open to a multiplicity of visual means, but not an endless multiplicity. There's a skein or net of great exactitude.
SB: "Another way of looking at the universe." Well, I guess I'm a progressivist. You're probably right. But I'm moved to think that there is a move to a sanity of recognition of the universe that comes with that openmindedness that begins with Romanticism without that being dependent upon stitching things along the line of fact and logic. I see this openendedness as our only hope.

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