Monday, December 03, 2007

Virginia Woolf on Poetry

Brain rather dried up. But I've been listening once again to Juliet Stevenson reading To the Lighthouse in my car (abridged, sadly), and I was struck by this passage:
"And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves." She did not know what they meant, but, like music, the words seemed to be spoken by her own voice, outside her self, saying quite easily and naturally what had been in her mind the whole evening while she said different things. She knew, without looking round, that every one at the table was listening to the voice saying:
          I wonder if it seems to you,
             Luriana, Lurilee

with the same sort of relief and pleasure that she had, as if this were, at last, the natural thing to say, this were their own voice speaking.
The same but different from Pound's call for poetry to be "nothing you couldn't, in the stress of some emotion, actually say." The sense of own's own articulation, possessing and being possessed by another's language. Discovering what we might be capable of saying, of feeling, of being.

I maintain there are political implications for this moment. Though not, perhaps, the most important ones.

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