This past week our Origin class received a lecture about Voice and verse: at the origins of contemporary poetry from Stefano Colangelo. Colangelo argued poetry does not have origins. It is a state of mind. Colangelo references Croce who makes the comparison between poetry and aesthetics. “Art is pure intuition or pure expression… but a kind od intuition not at all devoid of concepts and judgments, the primordial form of knowledge, without which it is impossible to understand its other more complex forms”. Therefore Colangelo says that poetry is about intuition and expression is poetry itself.
Colangelo discussed Gaston Bachelard who said, “While all other metaphysical experiences are preceded by endless introductions, poetry rejects all preambles, general principles, methods and proofs. It rejects doubt. At the most it requires a prelude made of silence. At first, drumming on concave words, it quiets prose and those reverberations that would leave in the soul of the reader a continuity of thought or a few murmurs. Then after these empty sounds, it produces its moment” it’s another way to be timeless. It is really fascinating to look at the relationship between poetry and time.
We also discussed Paul Valery who claims language speaks in poetry.“In short, the Language generated by the voice, not the voice generated by language”Therefore voice is the root of poetry. Poetry only needs voice to be born.
In addition, Colangelo talked about Roland Barthes who said, “Style is predominantly a phenomenon of generative order, it is the transposition of a humor. Style, on the contrary only has a vertical dimension, it plunges to the closed memory of the person, it draws its opacity from a certain experience of matter; style is but a metaphor, that is to say an equation between the literary intentions and the carnal structure of the author.” From Barthes points Colangelo argued that style is a metaphor in itself. It is the connection between writer and reader. Style is related to the instrument of perception. Style is connected to body. Poetry is connected to voice We perceive poetry with our bodies. You can love a poem that someone else doesn’t because you have a different body.
We looked at the words of Paul Celan – “composing verse relates not so much time, as to universal time” “an entire language is gathered in every first word of a poem” “Poetry: language in its nascent state. Thus, language in statu nascendi, language that is setting itself free. “ “The word in a poem is only partially occupied by the vicissitudes of the poet; another part is occupied by the vicissitudes of poetry; a third part is left empty, to be occupied”. I found his words really interesting. I like what he said about poetry setting the language free.
Lastly we looked at Elias canetti – “I dream of a man that unlearns the languages of the earth” When he went to Morocco, because he didn’t understand the language, “Over the course of our life, we all learn a little something about all the countries and the peoples in the world, but I lost that bit of knowledge in a matter of a few hours” he wanted to listen to the sounds and the cries without understanding. Foreignness is the key to understanding poetry.
In conclusion, there is a good relationship between origin and being a stranger. It is helpful when one is switching among languages and switching among different cultures. When you are too familiar with a culture you do not receive the language the same way. Everything is related to poetry. Colangelo’s last words of advice were to be less academic, and to be more human.