Questioning Poetics

Poetics is based on the ‘double that.’ 1 thatness, the mind’s wonder that there is anything at all (wonder being nonverbal, mysterious), and by implication, the wonder begat by beholding THAT man, THAT tree, just THAT ONE; and, 2, the ‘that’ introducing a statement about such suchness: ‘I believe that…’.

(Perhaps, rereading the above, we should be talking about a doubled double!)

Poems beget endless conversation. They are rooted in the silence of the mystery of incarnate being, the instrumention of words by lungs, tongues, brains.

Poems frustrate explanation because their roots penetrate below the surface of statements (THAT2), into the mysteries of incarnate being (THAT1). And so we arrive back at the beginning: why is there anything at all?

As Aristotle said, poetry is more philosophical than history.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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