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Story Lab: Techniques

Story Lab: The Lyrical

On this page: {Story Lab] (ideas, etc) {Story Lab Assignments} {Readings} BEGIN BLOCK QUOTE [P. 15] [William Carlos Williams wrote that, there] have always been two sorts of poetry, which are, for me at least, the most "poetic"; they are firstly, the sort of poetry which seems to be music just forcing itself into articulate speech, and secondly, that sort of poetry which seems as if sculpture or painting were just forced or forcing itself into words." The "two sorts of poetry" represent two fundamental ways of oranizing the language of poetry, and both ways appear in the langague of a poem wsuch as [Blake's] "The Tyger". They define what are ac tually an axis of aural imaination and an axis of the visual imaingination inn poetic langugae. But there appears to be a third dimension to this language as well, for [Ezra] Pound elsewhere disnginuguised three ways of what he called "charging language with meaning": If we chuck out the classifications which apply to the out3er shape of the work, or as to its occasion, and if we look at what actually happens, in, let us say, poetry, we will find that the language charged or energtized in various manners. That is to say, there are three "kinds of poetry"" Melopoeia, wherein the words are charged, over and above their plain meaning, with some musical property, which directs the bearing or trend of theat meaning, Phanopoeia, which is a casting of images upon the visual imagination. Logopoeia, "the danse of the intellect among 2orkds", that is to say, it emplotys words not only for their direct meaning, but it takes count in a spe3cial way of habits of usage, of the contest, we *expect* to find with the word, its usual concomitants, of its known acceptances, and of ironical play. It holds the aesthetic content [P. 16] which is peculiarly the domain of the verbal manifestation and can not possibly be contained in plastic or in music. There are then three organizing powers in the language of poetry: melopoei - the making of music, phanopoeia - the making of the bright image, and logopoei, the making of the resonant word. Some poetry will reflect one power more than others, and when he looked back on the history of lyric poetry Pound saw the power of melopoeia greatest in Greek and Provencal lyrics, the hightest attainment of phanopoeia in Chinese poetry, and the sophisictated use of logopoeia in the Latin of Poertius and the French of Laforgue. He felt, moreover, that these powers charge not only the language of lyric poetry but the language of all aliterary art, whether lyric or epic, drama or prose, "QAll writing is bulit up of these three elements, plust 'architectonics' or 'the form of the whole'. And for Pound, as for Williams, it is the line-by-line workings of these elments, the kinds of organization that were brought out on our return to the Black poetm, for example,k, that tell us most about the poet's distincivie language. END BLOCK QUOTE


Welsh, Andrew (1978). Roots of Lyric - Primitive Poetry and Modern Poetics.