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"First Snow" "First Snow"
by Jan Sand
2008-11-24 09:10:11
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October lays its snows
In a temporary way

Like children in an attic
Donning adult clothes in play,
Trying on maturity
For an hour or a day.
But soon the snows are gone,
The grass beneath still green,
And Winter waits to grow a bit
To get serious and mean.


 
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Emanuel Paparella2008-11-24 15:04:18
"Poetry should... should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance." - John Keats (Add a comment)

What is striking in this statement by a great poet is that the emphasis is placed not on the author (be he a narcissist or not) as the source of meaning in a poem but on the reader. This echoes Roland Barthes’s “death of the author” essay wherein the reader, not the author, decodes the competing writings constituting a text and achieves authority over it. This insight of “art as text” promulgated by the influential school of structuralism applies to the whole of art and not mere literary texts. Indeed, a language has prior established meanings which the author simply utilizes, even in poetry which contains subjective feelings. Those who would use their own private language end up in solipsism judging their own production and understood only by themselves and their internal voices. Many of those “authors” are found in insane asylums. Indeed, there is no meaning in unread books. To a dog a book appears as so many pieces of paper with ink marks on it; it is a hard for dogs and cultural philistines to fathom why anybody would spend so much time looking at pieces of paper when he ought to be outside smelling the wonderful smells and throwing sticks for it to catch. Indeed, when the works of any author in any medium languish on bookshelves or storage rooms with no readers and no viewers, there is no meaning. No reader, no meaning!


Sand2008-11-24 17:47:37
One does not have to be a dog to look over an irrelevant Paparella submission and discover the urge to rush outdoors to smell something more interesting.


Emanuel Paparella2008-11-24 19:01:51
Indeed one does not have to be dog. It is enough to be a "naked ape" as elucidated by the zoologist Desmond Morris. To both a dog and a naked ape any submission is meaningless; except, of course, one's own.


Sand2008-11-24 19:23:34
Nobody claimed it was meaningless. Merely irrelevant and not interesting, at least to me.


Emanuel Paparella2008-11-24 21:28:43
Indeed, what can Keats and Barthes have to teach us sophisticated post-modern men at the cutting edge of technology? Cultural philistinism and political correctness dictates that we burn, at least metaphorically, books written by passé writers such as Barthes and Keats; and we might as well throw in Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” for good measure. We may wish to request the assistance of Guy Montag, the fireman, who knows about the dangers of reading in a dystopic society and knows that book paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. But before we burn all those passè uninteresting and irrelevant books, not worth a walk in the park with a dog smelling wonderful smells, I’d like to save this excerpt from the same book: “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar… We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.”

Then the naked apes can proceed with the reinvention of the wheel and the bow and arrow and how to make fire. With those re-inventions: tools for fithting and fire for burning books he will be on top of the heap of all the other naked apes.


Sand2008-11-25 06:05:00
Whew! Talk about verbal diarrhea and mental constipation!


Emanuel Paparella2008-11-25 06:56:03
I suppose that includes the quote from Bradbury's book. No surprises there either!


bohdan2008-11-25 09:42:26
Liked it.


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