William Blake

'Awareness inside language'

On George Quasha's preverbs

Note: After reading several of George Quasha’s collections of “preverb” poems with great interest, I was intrigued by his development of this new poetic mode, the way it shaped the organization of his work over a substantial period of time and the persistent metapoetic (even metalinguistic) thrust of the poetry. George kindly consented to engage in an exchange, and we limited the discussion to four of his preverb books. The interview took place via email from January 8 to February 23, 2016.

The infinity in language

Plant (1960) by Remedios Varo
Plant (1960) by Remedios Varo

“Poiesis, in the deepest sense, is cosmology.” —Adam Cornford

In addition to poets using science as a source for metaphor, poets claiming science as a type of poetry, and poets conducting science as poetry, there are poets who are making science a determining element of their worldview. One such poet, Adam Cornford, whose poetry and critical works intersect with evolutionary biology, physics, cosmology, and more, and who Andrew Joron has called a “cosmo-surrealist,” has said in our recent conversations that his aim is to discursively imagine science as a way to “(re)imagine that which we know, especially that which we know indirectly, that is, by way of instrumentalities and mathematical schemata.”

Patti Smith in honor of William Blake

Toward the end of our interview-discussion with Patti Smith on December 9, 2010 — moderated by Anthony DeCurtis — Smith introduced and played a version of “My Blakean Year.”  Here is the first stanza of the song:

In my Blakean year
I was so disposed
Toward a mission yet unclear
Advancing pole by pole
Fortune breathed into my ear
Mouthed* a simple ode
One road is paved in gold
One road is just a road

* In the performance this word is apparently “Obeyed.”

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