December 19, 2007
Enclosure: A Final Word
Both systems of enclosure depend on one another. One cannot exist without the other, because whatever product (or lack of product) emerges or doesn’t emerge from the seed must take a journey. As shown, it can travel on a circular road, separate from the path by going in a different direction, and even approach a dead end. Are dead ends valid destinations? This is a question I attempted to answer in the beginning of the semester. I believe that a dead end is always valid. In the nature of poetry, dead ends allow a writer to move on once an idea is exhausted or if it simply doesn’t fit into what is trying to be enclosed. It isn’t about forgetting an idea, but rather, setting it free. My goal has been to track the journeys of the writer, the audience (the reader), and the poem/poam itself. And in doing so, I have seen them moving and working through both systems of enclosure.
Poet to Poam: There and Back Again
After we are done with a poam, where does it go? It is like traveling. You’re never truly free from the places in which you travel. When you return home places do the traveling—poams move to us, approach us, wake us up, haunt and excite us, etc. The work lives on; it is enclosed within us and it takes on multiple forms and meanings while our situations change.
The poet creates his illumination into a product. He moves to it.
The Poem then travels.
When it does, it comes back to the poet. It does the traveling.
Summer Illuminations is a map of places I traveled to and of illuminations that took place at these destinations. Such illuminations were inspiration for poetry which I have enclosed in the larger poam.
This brings me to my second system of enclosure, the road. This road has two shapes, one is circular, which is the path I have illustrated above and also experienced as I began documenting my summer travels. The other, is a road which forks in many directions and even contains dead ends. These are the properties of this enclosure system.
Both enclosure systems, the seed and the road share the same property’s. So much belongs to both systems. The most important being illuminations that produced something and even those that reach a dead end and couldn’t travel any further. This doesn’t mean that the idea is motionless. It is possible that it embarks on a different system of enclosure, one that will allow it to move past the dead end—that is to say that all people relate to poetry in different ways. Words I find meaning in and things that move me may not have the same effect on others. This was confirmed a few weeks ago when we created illumination surveys. I found that people were illuminated by different things and each person was struck by different lines of the Nye poem I gave them to read. I also realized this when I began working on my mapping of Emily Dickinson’s “The Lightning is a Yellow Fork.” As one of my previous blog posts states, I understood the poem through the concept of supply and demand. My current mapping has evolved into this.
From Where Does the Product Emerge?
During this semester, I have developed two systems of enclosure through which I have come to experience and know poetry and poams. Both systems can be summarized in a visual representation. The first is a seed, and the second is a road.
The first system, the seed, gives explanation as to where a poam originates. The seed (like a thought) is planted in soil (like in the brain). To think on it (giving it water, time, light) will produce a kind of illumination. This illumination is what gives birth to a poam.
What happens when we neglect the thought? When we don’t give it the proper nutrients to grow and evolve into something else? Does the thought end? Where does it go? Does it die or whither away? Is it pushed further into the ground? Perhaps the seed (the thought, idea) is ignored, crushed or blown away but it does not end, it takes the place of something else. Perhaps it becomes someone else’s thought where it is planted and then enclosed in another person’s brain. It is possible that this person is able to give something or do something with this thought that we cannot. Its potential for blossoming is greater in a different place. This shows that meanings of poams alter with people and situations.
There are no set properties of this enclosure system. The possibilities are limitless, and in some ways, shapeless. Almost anything can be produced or not produced once a seed is planted. The flexibility, and possibly the uncertainty, of this system is what gives it greater potential to acquire more meaning. For me, it makes the impossible seem possible, and even rational.
What emerges from the seed is anything we want it to be. Isn’t this what art is? I was reminded of the possibilities of the products that grow from the seed when I saw reimagining art: finding art/poetry in math. I think this is a beautiful idea and I wish this idea of finding art in the most unexpected of places was something more people considered.
December 15, 2007
"The Hours" as a Poam
In looking at how multiple meanings can be derived from poems (and poams) and how these meanings can be experienced in different visual and sonic forms, I am reminded of the movie, “The Hours.” Based off of Michael Cunningham’s novel, this film presents the lives of three different women who wake up to a morning in June. What stands before them is a day that ultimately defines their whole lives. In 1923, Virginia Woolf begins to write her novel Mrs. Dalloway. In the 1950s, Laura Brown prepares a party for her husband’s birthday, and in present day Clarissa Vaughan must prepare a party for her close friend Richard. Each expands three generations of women creating multiple realities, which in a sense, all function within a single poam.
As I viewed Jason J. Gillingham’s poetry I was also reminded of this movie. As Professor Moss pointed out, words are never defined in one way here. Instead, their definitions change with the environment they are placed in. In “The Hours,” themes of insecurity, choosing between life and death, and what it means to be the perfect hostess change, relative to the situations of each woman.
The film becomes fragmented into three separate truths: that of the writer, the audience, and the woman living the novel out. In viewing these multiple realities, we see how they function in a single day in three different time periods. In the beginning of the movie, we see Virginia writing “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself,” the first line of her novel. This line is then read aloud by Laura who is reading the novel. And finally we see the importance of this line travel into present day as Clarissa claims that she will buy flowers, and we see her actually doing so. The film has no set formula as themes and instances move and circulate from the past to the present, and vice versa.
There is no ultimate meaning. What we are instead left with is a comparison on three separate stories and how certain feelings, such as a lack of individuality transcend time through the lives of three entirely different women. Such themes move fluidly through the movie in an attempt to demonstrate how they can and will adapt to different environments and times.
December 10, 2007
Somewhere i have never traveled
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
-- e. e. cummings
I have added this poem to my collection of illuminations and have found within it a reason why synesthesia is unlike any other literary device. It gives a voice to the unseen and unheard. For instance, meanings we cannot readily infer are brought to light. Synesthesia allows things that are seemingly impossible to become possible. For instance, in this poem, eyes can speak, and when they do, they sound deeper than all roses. In an attempt to portray the visual imagery of someone’s eyes, we also learn what they sound like. This cross-sensory device allows multiple meanings to be found. The comparison of a rose to an actual person also allows for multiple meanings. A double meaning, a sort of symbolism, is created with the aspect of the rose. Thus, every reading has the possibility of being different. For instance, the opening and closing throughout the poem can be that of the blossoming and withering of the rose as well as the opening and closing in a more abstract, emotional sense between two people. Even in the frailty of the rose, and perhaps a woman, which cummings seems to be referring to, there is a certain depth and boldness to the weaknesses. This makes the poem absolutely beautiful on so many levels.
Another way of looking at synesthesia can be found in this youtube video. Sounds give rise to different colors and shapes. Or, perhaps it is the color/shapes which are producing the sound. Both are so intimately woven together it’s hard to see which comes first.
December 03, 2007
Pictures of Illuminations
Pictures of recent illuminations can be found here.
Illuminations with forks
It's amazing how multiple situations, properties, and property's of a fork can be generated. Here are a few things our group came up with:
Situations a fork is found in:
1. In a cupboard
2. In your mouth
3. In a piece of food
4. In a dishwasher
5. On a kitchen floor
6. In a box of tools
(metaphors): A bird's foot, a rake, a tree with roots, peace sign, and as suggested by two poems we've read: a lightning bolt, fork in the road
Properties of a fork:
3. Breakable, accessible, convenient
6. Straight yet arched
Property of forks (what they own):
1. Soft foods because plastic
2. Saliva, germs
4. the dye from food
6. soap, water
7. If it is a rake: leaves, grass, weeds, nutrients from soil
8. If it is a fork in the road: car tracks
9. Itself: a fork can be the owner of itself