Friday, June 19, 2009

some literary mechanics

Unpacking the literary mechanics of a work in progress:
I have been working on a 3 part poem for some time called Nacherrel Gradeyenz (Natural Gradients). Part one of the poem is a bit abstract, a kind of exploration into the causality behind randomness. My first draft of the first stanza looked like this:

Like a planet held in the grip of a star,
Slowly, slowly it spirals around,
Slowly accelerating inward and down
Til it plunges into its inevitable fate.

Besides some rhythmic roughness, it tells its story rather explicitly, and in a one dimensional manner. Like a painting built up in layers, it became the ground, providing the basic shapes and tones from which I worked. Borrowing a term from rabbinical exegesis, it provided the “peshat” meaning, the plain or most directly accessible meaning. After a series of overlays and glazes, the stanza took on a more complex and superimposed quality, attempting to merge inner vision and outer vision. As you will see, this version includes some unavoidable stevespell. Thus...

Like our planna spun in the solar sway,
Slowly, wobbly, spiraling around,
Accelerating irresistibly, coils it down
To the light core emanating breath of it all.

But of course, my actual composing was happening in stevespell, not normspell. That had a big impact on the evolution of the text. Now consider the stanza. With a further sacrifice of simplicity, for the sake of amplified communication, multiple and more complex impressions can sparkle out of the language. This is what it looks like:

On ar planna appool in the sol aspin,
Slolee, wobbellee, spirellee rownd,
Aksellen erazzistallee, koyelz ee down
Tu the lite koer emmannaten breethen ov all.

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