Thursday, May 29, 2008
Lecture 9: Poetry & Time Now: What?—O’Hara & Duncan)
“Period by period the sentences are bound. / Fragments deliverd up / to what celestial timekeeper?” wrote Robert Duncan.
When we read a novel that has our attention, that sucks us in and moves us, we want it to go on forever. A bad novel—we can’t wait for it to be over. Same with movies.
And a poem? When we read a good poem, we want to read it again and again. Its time is more intense—not the duration of fiction, not the continuous flow of life, but the moment of insight, revelation, of primordial memory and the instantaneous recognition of truth. Or, as Frank O’Hara wrote, “Everything / suddenly honks: it is 12:40 of / a Thursday.”