My peers and professors kept recommending Jane Hirschfield’s Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry to me, and with this class I found the ideal exploration space for this collection of essays. I read Susan Stewart’s Poetry and the Fate of the Senses previously, which she wrote in a density close to that of black holes, as well as Stephen Dunn’s Best Words, Best Order, written in a more clear diction. Maybe one reason for putting off Hirschfield’s book was the concern that it would approach Stewart’s complexity as opposed to Dunn’s clarity. I do not shy away from complex theory, I enjoy it, but find that along with that complexity comes a requirement for time spent contemplating. Continue reading “The Focus Gate Opens: Reflections on Jane Hirschfield’s “Poetry and the Mind of Concentration””
Again, I find myself drawn to Stewart’s discussions in Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, but this time am finding it more difficult to locate a continuity between this reading and readings from Hoagland’s Real Sofistikashun or Longenbach’s The Poetic Line. Hoagland’s essays, especially, seem to want to break the connections seen in “Facing, Touch, and Vertigo,” while at the same time they are reflexive and recursive. At the same time, Hoagland points to the idea that those poems which become completely disconnected or overly aware of the connection between writer and reader, which invoke complete vertigo, are necessarily less successful.