Saturday, May 9, 2009

On entering the Holy Forest: RIP Craig Arnold and Robin Blaser

... I am arguing not for my pretensions as a poet, but for what the poetry reflects, if it is entered. That the poet does the job of entering this world and continues through his life to record that entrance is a fact, not pretense - that it is personal, original, and singular is also a fact. And here I want to quote the ethnologist Frank Speck on the Naskapi Indians (Labrador). He says that among them the form of the earth is like a hill and floats upon the water. He calls this a general concept, which is not true; it is a well-known image among them, and his informant, Charley Metowe'cic, said that the earth's form comes to be known only from the testimony of a man about to die. "In the vision that comes at this time the mind can view the universe and sees all around the earth as it rises above the water. And he feels it rocking." This is a statement which draws my attention because it is my own belief that any vision of the world is not complete until a man dies. I mean here that imagination is more a power to take in and hold than it is a power of making up, though it must in its activity take responsibility for the uncreated. -- Robin Blaser

1 comment:

Henry Gould said...

This image of the primordial earth-mound on the water sounds a lot like the mundus-hill of the ancient Egyptians, the "ben-ben", out of which everything emerges.

(See Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano...)

Maybe poets (like Craig Arnold?), or people in general, tend to search (sub-, unconsciously?) for some kind of "hierosgamos" - conjunction of opposites, magnetic image of everything made whole again.