Friday, June 29, 2012
At least not very well. Not today.
Given that we were recently in Florida, and given that Wallace Stevens has always been one of Atticus's favorite poets, and given that it is Poetry Friday, Atticus suggested that I post a Stevens poem, "O Florida, Venereal Soil" and he suggested that I do it "without groping after some epistemological objective categorizing of the deeply subjective reactions reflected in the verse."
Gee, do I do that?
He went on to say, quoting John Keats, "In other words, 'be capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason....'"
But, um, I always do that irritable reaching. I thought he found it endearing. And I so often do it on Poetry Fridays.
But not always, really. Right? I am highly qualified to live in uncertainty, mystery and doubt. I'm a Catholic. It doesn't get more mysterious than that. And I sometimes post just the poem, sans any torturous reflection on my part: such as here and here and here and here and here and here. (Methinks I protest too much?)
I am capable, as William Hurt said in this clip, of just letting art flow over me. (Please go watch that thirty-second clip on YouTube. That line has always made me very happy.)
But, I can't post about Wallace Stevens -- I can't even think about Wallace Stevens -- without thinking. Long and hard, about a number of things. His life as both insurance executive and poet is fodder for scrutiny, and that's before we even get to his body of work. He was an interesting, perplexing human being. And I can't think about Florida, and travel, and real life vs. vacations, and how randomly we all seem to land in various geographical areas without that sparking some reflection.
And of course, all of that leads to a new stream of thought: Stevens isn't alone as poetry-writing insurance executive. The 13th U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser had the same Paper-Pusher-By-Day-Deep-Thinker-By-Night existence (though they are obviously extremely different types of poets). And that brings me to the poem posted at The Writer's Almanac today -- Kooser's "So This Is Nebraska" ... and that means I've gone full circle from Nebraska to Florida and home again.
Not only that, but on today's Writer's Almanac page, there is also a mention of the birthday of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and that brings me to a quote from The Little Prince: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
And if I believe that, I must be capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts ... and I am capable of that. Just not, clearly, capable of posting a Wallace Stevens poem without saying something. And nothing.
And, sadly, now, I'm thinking I should've just posted some Keats.
Maybe next week.
The Poetry Friday round up is at Paper Tigers.