Friday, October 01, 2010

Major and Minor Forms

A distinguished novelist complained that no directions for major form were given in How to Read.
In apology: It is a waste of time to listen to people talking of things they have not understood sufficiently to perform. (Ezra Pound, ABC, p. 76)

Pound ultimately didn't even exhibit "major form" in the Cantos. As Kearns points out,

He never got around to theorizing about major form, nor did he impose one on the Cantos. As he added to the poem or he came across new materials that interested him, he allowed them to find a place in the expanding code, trusting principally that a dynamic magnetism would hold everything together by the quality of the poet's affections. (29)

This is exactly the opposite of what I want to allow, and what I can trust, in Composure. My notes will cohere, I want to say, even if It/I don't (cf. Canto CXVI). That's what the project is about.

I want a major form to emerge from the pieces (the pjecer that have been translated as Kierkegaard's "fragments"). 51 pieces, say, one of which is my body ("This is my body"). Where it at all coheres. The form will not be imposed; it will be built. Hand crafted.

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