Unreal Nature

December 26, 2014

Open the Light

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:39 am

… I once saw a small child go to an electric light switch and say, “Mamma, can I open the light?”

This is from Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir by Ezra Pound (1970):

… The image is the poet’s pigment. The painter should use his color because he sees it or feels it. I don’t much care whether he is representative or non-representative. He should depend, of course, on the creative, not upon the mimetic or representational part in his work. It is the same in writing poems; the author must use his image because he sees it or feels it, not because he thinks he can use it to back up some creed or some system of ethics or economics.

An image, in our sense, is real because we know it directly. If it have an age-old traditional meaning this may serve as proof to the professional student of symbology that we have stood in the deathless light, or that we have walked in some particular arbor of his traditional paradiso, but that is not our affair. It is our affair to render the image as we have perceived or conceived it.

… When I find people ridiculing the new arts, or making fun of the clumsy odd terms that we use in trying to talk of them amongst ourselves; when they laugh at our talking about the “ice-block quality” in Picasso, I think it is only because they do not know what thought is like, and that they are familiar only with argument and gibe and opinion. That is to say, they can only enjoy what they have been brought up to consider enjoyable, or what some essayist has talked about in mellifluous phrases. They think only “the shells of thought,” as De Gourmont calls them; the thoughts that have been already thought out by others.

… All poetic language is the language of exploration. Since the beginning of bad writing, writers have used images as ornaments. the point of Imagisme is that it does not use images as ornaments. The image is itself the speech. The image is the word beyond formulated language.

I once saw a small child go to an electric light switch and say, “Mamma, can I open the light?” She was using the age-old language of exploration, the language of art. It was a sort of metaphor, but she was not using it as ornamentation.

-Julie

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