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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

'a concentration of the particular' Charles Wright

In response to a query from J. D. McClatchy about this signature “Wright” style in a Paris Review interview (“The Art of Poetry,” No. 41, 1989), [Charles] Wright says:
It’s a concentration of the particular, I suppose, despite the gravity of the general. Transcendence inside its own skin. In other words, it tends to be not just how you write, but what you write as well, and why you write it. I feel about style the way Heidegger felt about being. It’s inside, not outside. All those things you mention, sound and look and—what was it, pacing?—and ambition, all have to come from an inner necessity, a ‘thereness,’ a haeccitas, that makes you write as you do. Jazz, for example, may be all style, but it’s all soul as well. Everything that we see comes from something that we don’t see. Duende or dharma or dasein, it all comes down to the same thing, you are what you are, and what you are in that secret place is what you write. Well, it’s complicated, isn’t it, and I haven’t expressed myself very well. Clarity. Faith, hope, and clarity. Some things are more difficult to clarify than others, aren’t they? Great clarity is great style, however hard it may be.

from Hard Freight, a poem discussed in the article at Los Angeles Review of Books:

(The heart is a hieroglyph;
The fingers, like praying mantises, poise
Over what they have once loved;
The ear, cold cave, is an absence,
Tapping its own thin wires;
The eye turns in on itself. 
The tongue is a white water.
In its slick ceremonies the light
Gathers, and is refracted, and moves
Outward, over the lips,
Over the dry skin of the world.
The tongue is a white water.)  

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