Monday, February 18, 2008

Further literary notes

Like a painting these poems are built up from a ground layer with a series of overlays. In this process, as I employ it, the overlays each represent a new perspective, point of view, or psychological state. The challenge is to maintain the clarity of image and "color" while superposing new overlays. Poorly done, this muddies the color or creates poor registration (as in the printing sense). As ever, ambiguity and lack of sharpness are the results of poor workmanship.

It has been said to me that some situations can be inherently ambiguous, and therefore, the writer's job is to express that ambiguity. I say, "No!" The writer's job is to accurately tell and show what is known or observed or felt or imagined. As ever, accuracy is essential. Done properly and well, the inherent ambiguity will be discerned and expressed thru the clarity of image and relationship. But the descriptive foundation itself will not be ambiguous, muddy, distorted, or incomplete, as if such sloppiness is a means for conveying the unknown, or the limitations of our knowing (which is the source of ambiguity).