An Author's Assemblage: Brief Notes and Notices

The accumulation of posts to this web page serves merely as an author’s assemblage of brief notes and notices: the collection of informal bits of information, quotations, and observations gathered as one way to display a personal reflection of perceptions on poetry, publication, and related selections of material drawn from my perspectives as a poet or professor of literature and creative writing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Robert Hass on the Haunting Power of Images

“Images haunt. There is a whole mythology built on this fact: Cezanne painting till his eyes bled, Wordsworth wandering the Lake Country hills in an impassioned daze. Blake describes it very well, and so did the colleague of Tu Fu who said to him, ‘It is like being alive twice.’ Images are not quite ideas, they are stiller than that, with less implication outside themselves. And they are not myth, they do not have that explanatory power; they are nearer to pure story. Nor are they always metaphors; they do not say this is that, they say this is. In the nineteenth century one would have said that what compelled us about them was a sense of the eternal. And it is something like that, some feeling in the arrest of the image that what perishes and what lasts forever have been brought into conjunction, and accompanying that sensation is a feeling of release from the self. Antonio Machado wrote, ‘Hoy es siempre todavía.’ Yet today is always. And Czeslaw Milosz, ‘Tylko trwa wieczna chwila.’ Only the moment is eternal.” —From “Images,” an essay in Twentieth Century Pleasures (Ecco, 1984) by Robert Hass

[To read more by Robert Hass about “Images,” visitors are encouraged to also view a post at “One Poet’s Notes”: “Robert Hass: Imagination and the Image,” which includes a video of Hass speaking.]

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