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Friday, November 17, 2006
On the Come-Back Trail


Man. Where have I been. We had a great time at Deer Camp. Unfortunately, FARMStrong cam was down and I had to resort to a throw-away Kodak. Needless to say, no to get that boy to WalMart for development. Coming soon. We're coming up on the second birthday of FARMStrong in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping to get my act together soon.

I've been meaning to post this extended quote from Thomas Merton for a while now. It's a great word on poetry.

In poetry, words are charged with meaning in a far different way than are the words in a piece of scientific prose. The words of a poem are not merely the signs of concepts: they are also rich in affective and spiritual associations. The poet uses words not merely to make declarations, statements of fact. That is usually the last thing that concerns him. He seeks above all to put words together in such a way that they exercise a mysterious and vital reactivity among themselves, and so release their secret content of associations to produce in the reader an experience that enriches the depths of his spirit in a manner quite unique. A good poem induces an experience that could not be produced by any other combination of words. It is therefore an entity that stands by itself, graced with an individuality that marks it off from every other work of art. Lke all great works of art, true poems seems to live by a life entirely their own. What we must seek in a poem is therefore not an accidental reference to someting outside itself: we must seek this inner principle of individuality and of life which is its soul, or "form." What the poem actually "means" can only be summed up in the whole content of poetic experience which it is capable of producing in the reader. This total poetic experience is what the poet is trying to communiacte to the rest of the world.

Thomas Merton, from Bread in the Wilderness. p. 53
posted by John David Walt | at 11/17/2006 10:23:00 PM

 

5 Comments:

Blogger gmw said...

Welcome back, JD. Glad ya'll had a good time in the woods.

11:33 PM EST  
Blogger Th3 Waters said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:26 AM EST  
Blogger DGH said...

Thank you so much J.D. I am still trying to tackle this poetry passions welling up inside me...and the quote helped for inspiration.

10:27 AM EST  
Blogger Mark said...

It's a good thing your back JD. For someone like me who never actually post anything on his blog, I like to like to live my blog life Vicariously through yours.

As for poetry, I think often of some of our conversations over the summer. In particular that poetry (or at least good poetry) demands wrestling with the text to uncover it's meaning - which is why we often have no time for it. Merton is really saying it so well here..."He seeks above all to put words together in such a way that they exercise a mysterious and vital reactivity among themselves, and so release their secret content of associations to produce in the reader an experience that enriches the depths of his spirit in a manner quite unique."

I've been reading Eat This Book by Peterson from time to time, and he speaks of how we ought not approach scripture like any other book simply to be read. That the mysteries that lie within demand meditation & response, it begs to be turned over and over in our minds, said aloud & digested.

We often don't have time for the Word.

9:20 PM EST  
Blogger eli said...

thanks for introducing me to this quote, jd, i think it will help with my own creations.

12:22 PM EST  

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