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.

The Musical Flesh of Form

The grammar of form branches into concepts of perfection: we say of an athlete, she has perfect form on the high beam. In describing lyrics we may spontaneously express ourselves in hyperbolic terms of perfection.

Then too, on the creative side, the process of composition has a transcendent diagonal that indirectly pushes the poet toward perfection, almost never acknowledged as such.

Perfection as a goal internal to composition shows its influence in the voice/voices as realized by the poem. The poet herself is implicated in this final sound both as auditor and musician.

In its embeddedness in culture and cultural values including hierarchies and proportions, the self of the poet is musical. In this the poet is representatively human. Indeed all flesh is musical and sustained by principles and powers we cannot reduce to thought.