Robert Eric Shoemaker

Magical Poetics

Wobble the gyre

Symbolist magic

An illustration of W.B. Yeats’s “gyre” as described in “A Vision.” Published in “A Brief Approach to W.B. Yeats’ Lunar System.”

Like a molecule when energy infuses it

Sublimate the symbol, the image

Reach through the punctum

Move from ground state to excited state and back again

Terribly human

'Helen in Egypt,' over-mind, and other hermetic definitions

‘Ecstasy of Saint Teresa,’ 1645–1652, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Photo credit Joaquim Alves Gaspar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The ability to see the self and one’s work in communion with one’s poetic ancestors is different from merely employing allusion or reference in one’s writing. Modernists like T. S. Eliot or H.D.’s friend/lover/mentor Ezra Pound made the past new by setting themselves among the dead and interpreting their work as such, to paraphrase Eliot’s essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” In works like Eliot’s The Waste Land, much of this deadness is referential. H.D.

Write, or die

H.D. and the image-imagined self

H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) in a c.1921 postcard inscribed to Marianne Moore. Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Public domain.

but She draws the veil aside,

unbinds my eyes,
commands,
write, write or die.­

— H.D., “Red Rose and a Beggar,” Hermetic Definition (7)

Articulate / Inarticulability

Part 2

Renée Stout, ‘The Rootworker’s Table,’ 2011, Speed Art Museum, Louisville. Photo by Eric Shoemaker.

Mary Douglas reminds us that sorcery and witchcraft, which she identifies as “pollution powers” (not toxins, but powers viewed systemically as problematic because of their transgressive nature) occur “where the lines of structure, cosmic or social, are clearly defined” (136). Queerness, as a construct, is made possible by the not-queer. The bipolar spectrum of sexuality and gender — man and woman — recognized for centuries by mainstream, white hegemony has made possible an articulation of the interstices between.

Queer / Inarticulability

Part 1

Mithras and the Bull: fresco from the mithraeum at Marino, Italy (third century). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I need to get better and I’m out of ideas. I arrange the candles, and I pray.
— Elissa Washuta, “White Magic” (12)

I’ve been thinking about why we need magic.