Inner Form Simplified

To reach Metaxyturn, where the participating consciousness becomes the site of agapeic otherness, the work of art goes through two stages. 1. Through dialectics reaching the abyss of the self on the edge of abyss/the divine passage (think Beckett). Here asymmetric relativity replaces the relativity of dialectic. Dialogue with otherness interrupts. 2. Witness. The overfullness of presence of the divine other’s passage in the between. Think Bonnefoy’s resolute fidelity beyond nihilism. Presence. Hope.

Chord Progression as Final Form in Milosz Poem


The powerful emotions expressed here may make us assume a lack of structure. Let’s say it has a chord progression, from objective reality through an increasingly complex intersubjective sequence. Passion becomes dialectical but no less erotic for that. And as if in a flash of lightning a kind of posthumous agapeic apocalypse establishes a new ground for the poem. I call this moment Metaxyturn: it establishes a luminous space that comprehends the poetry itself. It’s this chord progression that allows the final form of the poem to emerge.

The ‘is’ in the grammar of beauty

We say, now THAT is beautiful!

What do we mean?

Well, we mean we are pointing at something that is beautiful. And we expect disagreement!

So, given ‘relativity,’ what is beauty? It’s obviously not some determinate thing.

Perhaps we should ask, what does ‘is’ mean here? As Desmond argues in The Gift of Beauty and the Passion of Being (Cascade, 2018), 118, there IS a ‘too muchness’ in beauty’s happening.

This Juice and Joy

John Burnside is a canny maker. He knows how to move from a familiar “quote” to a fabric of known unknowns (“we pray a spring will come / to comprehend it, all this juice and joy // informing a world …”.). The finesse of Burnside’s technique is no sophistry but cleaves to a narrative ‘inscribed’ in the consciousness of time-out-of-time (in saecula saeculorum)

Is this ‘lyric’ personal or self-consciously liturgical? Or both? However we handle such questions, the poem is a fine example of how language — a snatch like “juice and joy” which has its own felicitous shapeliness —- reaches beyond itself.

Language Senses

The roots of poetry are in the language. ‘The language’?
Well, that multidimensional object-medium that allows us a sense of ourselves and our world.
Language can be known in terms of being. William Desmond exhaustively defines four aspects: the univocal (the out there, rationally necessary), the equivocal (sense changing with context), the dialectical (the sense yielded by questions and answers), and the metaxological (the sense, fundamental to poetry, of the special open whole that draws on all the other senses and limits them by its sense of transcendence, of ongoing expanding relevance to what it is to be awake, mindful, in and through language).
Poems are true to ‘the language’ in varying degrees; so are poets; so are readers.