Friday, May 30, 2008

About poetry

poetry cannot be characterized in terms of any kind of linguistic meaning or device peculiar to it. (p. 7)

All the modes of meaning, features, and functions of everyday language are found in poetry. In brief, the medium of poetry is living language. The good poet makes his own additions to that language, but the nature of his work does not confine him to one segment of the linguistic field. (p.43)

although the view that confuses the poem with his paraphrasable meaning is wrong, there is no need to embrace mysticism as an alternative. (p. 43)

The reasoning underlying the position that poetry possesses a mysterious sort of supermeaning which defies rational understanding is of the following fallacious kind. From the premise that the meaning of a poem – taken widely as all the workings of its language – cannot be reproduced in a prose paraphrase, the conclusion is drawn that “poetic meaning” cannot be analyzed or explained. What should be said is that a paraphrase is only one kind of analysis applicable to only one aspect of a poem. This aspect is not the meanest. Granted that the paraphrase is the skeleton merely, not the living body of a poem, the skeleton is a pretty important part of the living body. (ps. 43-44)

… if literature differs from other kinds of discourse, the difference is to be sought in distinctions among what might be called “language situations”. (p. 44)


Isabel G. Hungerland, Poetic Discourse, University of California
Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1958.

P. S. Uma coisa é querer entender o que é a poesia. Outra coisa é querer justificar a "nossa poesia" (a que escrevemos e a que lemos). Outra coisa ainda é fazer parte da confraria dos "poetas portugueses contemporâneos" que são poetas porque se reconhecem uns aos outros como poetas. Se me acontece por acaso ou por dever de profissão lê-los ,chego a maior parte das vezes à mesma conclusão: como é inútil e enfadonha a poesia. Vislumbres do que é a poesia encontro-os actualmente, sem esforço, sobretudo no blogue do Bruno Béu, que não é poeta:

isto numa rua: primeiro, franziste
os olhos, depois fechaste-os (estava
muito intenso, o sol, 3h) e nisto
enquanto caminhavas1 bem mais
lento do que antes de te defenderes
da luz, logo acima de ti, ouviste
passar longamente o som pesado
de um avião.

1 não paraste



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