uncanny cant

When music orders poetry, analysis adds something to, does not explain away, the experience of the poem. But in these poems:

  • quotation only is nomadic;
  • rhyme is tonally out of focus;
  • cadence is forgettable;
  • etymological analysis changes nothing;
  • line breaks are unobtrusive;
  • narrative does not develop;
  • diction seems settled;
  • expression is undermined;

analysis adds nothing,

The poem’s music is a “non-thing”, grotesque1, and the reader suppresses the experience, the non-thing, so making it “taboo”2, when they analyse the poem. I think that means that the music is also sublime.

The reader may ignore poetic analysis and reasons4 – the need for radical art to begin again, that is too large for form5 – and consider it a “debased grotesque”5, unpack the poem’s meaning as something separate from the its experience, creating some kitsch paraphrase. Or they may try to think the taboo music with “the entire energy of the soul”6, when what was grotesque becomes “sublime”6, a cant in excess of its translation by the reader.

When the text is properly thought through, as something that cannot be paraphrased or fully understood, that experience, reading the words as if they were music, which is no longer a grotesque non-thing, is sublimely meaningful, so combines projective objective and language poetics, is an envisionment of the poem as radical art, something more than that meaning and those poetics.

Which reminds me of my first attempt at reading Prynne, not here due to interpretational difficulty and hermetic items,