Cut from many different chapters within Chus Pato’s and Erín Moure’s Secession/Insecession (2009/2014), some notes toward a theory of poetry (in a summer where I’ve set a curriculum to understand that form of language):
Moure: “Fiction allows us to inhabit the mind of another without urgency, increasing capacities for empathy and reducing the need for cognitive closure. Poems, being ambiguous, activate cells in more areas of the frontal cortex” (30).
Pato: “I speak of the impossible coincidence of languages and world, of the fracture in which the I of a poet is constituted, of how the poem is an emotive-cognitive writing that touches the world, of how a poem is a passion of language” (51-53).
Pato: “It could be that poet is one whose disposition coincides with the identity of a given language. The identity of a given language, any language, utters the world but its declarations don’t converge with the world.
Perhaps (psychology?) being a poet means assuming the caesura, constituting oneself in secession, in the very impossibility that languages might link words and things. A poet asserts I I is a deserted site, a silence, a cut, a distance” (119).
Moure: “I hesitate to say anything about poetry except: it is a conversation we speak into, an our consanguinity in words (material effect) matters” (120).
Pato: “In a poem objects don’t exist, nor emotions, nor feelings, only words that are the irremediable absence of the aesthetic they provoke” (125).
Moure: “Poetry, it is said by this me which is not me, is a conversation, or a texture like a shawl and each one of us weaves our own particular corner, or the bit where we gently hold its edge, aware that others are pulling gently as well on the surface of the textile, contributing their own gesture to the whole. And none of us produce this whole, not on our own, not with our friends alone. None of us are this whole nor can any of us speak for this whole that is poetry, we can only bring our hands’ work into the conversation, and raise not just our voice but our ears to it, to listen,
as listening affects the bones inside the ear and the balance of fluids inside certain membranes
listening alters the cells” (148).
Moure: “And so what if poems are cryptic, this protest just annoys me, poems activate more areas of the human cortex than do non-ambiguous speech, they bring excedent light and hormonal energy into the dark matter of the frontal cortex; where we read literature we equip our brains to deal with ‘ambiguous speech’. We realize the ambiguity of all speech, all mouths opening, and where in the mouth the accent is. Location, fear, passions, humidity” (150).