Wednesday, May 27, 2009

self-help Stevens

A Long Island-based psychotherapist who blogs quotes Wallace Stevens completely out of context--as self-help gloop. Renders the partly regular iambic blank-verse couplet into hyperlineated bloggy mush and even chooses a so-you-can't-miss-it mustard font color for the key phrase...

...but (at least by implication) seems to get it right. What does mind-body psychotherapy and meditation have to do with the poem "Man Carrying Thing"? What does that poem, a gradually intensifying wintry all-nighter pulled by the poet, have to do with any of the good doctor Crew's other entries: always shop from a list, he urges us; how to stretch your hamstring; have a clear conscience and feel good? Well, not much, but that this man would be attracted to these particular Stevensean lines did--surprsingly--get me thinking freshly about the poem, so I suppose trawling the blogosphere for 21st-century Stevens has its occasional rewards.

In the morning, we suddenly see what we had not been able to see before: "A horror of thoughts that suddenly are real."

We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in cold.

See freely beyond (or, really: after) the sight-obscuring blizzard of uncertainties, as the uncertainties themselves have kept hidden from us the terror of truth; thus see that that enactment is inescapable. This is his turn from the torment of difficulty toward lucidity. Description is revelation, yes, but better still is the poem that describes the process through which the writer can get (in the clear light of day) to the point of being able to describe with some confidence.