Thursday, July 11, 2013

Poetry and the crisis of personhood

For some poets, poetry had come to seem implicated in or complicit with the crisis of personhood. The very qualities that give poetry power in the domain of personhood—its ability to open up powerful channels of communication, to create a vivid and subtle picture of a mind in action, to create opportunities for readers to exercise their powers of sympathy to recognize and value their own subjective powers—these had come to seem restrictive rather than expansive—because every one of them had a limit and an end. Even the most minimal account of the person (like the most abstract picture or the most “anti-closural” poem) specifies some minimal features. Now, features themselves had become part of the crisis, and something extraordinary had to happen within or to the art of putting words together into sentences and lines, ordering sounds into sequences and patterns, arraying lines on the space of the page, in order to address that crisis. - Oren Izenberg

regarding Being Numerous