Music and Selving

At A Music

Writing poetry endangers the stability of the self. It opens it to the metaxological process of selving. Others — possible selves— appear on a circular stairway down and up. (This figure is borrowed from Julian of Norwich.) The poetic process of selving is apophatic in the sense that it undermines the poet’s daily selves by submitting them to the others of musical composition. The goal — the poem— is an agapeic space where the erotic drives to maintain sovereign identity break down and ‘friendships’ emerge as dimensions of a larger non-egoistic self. In their final realizations, poems are festive. But the process can be traumatic and the truly complete poem is rare. My daily tweets about poems are thumbnails of this art of poetry.

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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