Duncan to Olson quotes contradiction and poetry

[More Duncan to Olson]


But what one knows is the utter fallibility of one's self, a saving grace: and the wondrous fallibility of the universe. "So many faces, forms, glances." Contradiction may render false to logic; but poetic dialectic comprehends contradiction. Experience insists upon the reality of contradiction.
This makes me think of some other quotes. Poetry as "meter making argument" (from Emerson, read in "The Art of Poetry"). It also makes me think of the Ezra Pound quote about rhetoric being "the art of dressing up some unimportant matter so as to fool the audience for the time being" (page 37 of Flexible Lyric) because they're talking about logic, persuasion and argument--things of the same vain: "here is one side, here is another, this is what you should think about the sides".

The "poetic dialectic comprehends contradiction", therefore if apprehends how life actually goes. It's a fallible universe without a linear logic and poetry can, better than, say, rhetoric or logic, explore, show, invoke, evoke this. Duncan being aware of this and making this assertion reminds me of the section from the Dennis Cooley essay on the "Poetics of Robert Duncan". Cooley consulted a neuro-scientist who discussed Duncan's ability to see connections beyond the usual (annoyingly called 'thinking outside the effing box' nowadays). I loved that passage because it made me feel better about myself. I get those looks sometimes. Like, "where did you come from?" Because, um, I make connection between seemingly random things. Because I'm always seeing things in the way of a spider web: around, across, from the center & out, from the perimeter and in, from the front and the back. It's not illogic, or disorganized, but seeing more. Seeing better, actually. Seeing the chaos as an order of sorts.

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