Selving

‘Composing a poem is a way of leaving the self behind and getting involved in something larger.’ Robert Bringhurst, The Tree of Meaning, 145.

Bringhurst uses the word ‘self’ to mean an impulse to erotic sovereignty (Desmond): this has to be left behind. The lyric narrative as I show in my readings first engages with the world outside the self on which it has designs. The given univocal world—-say a landscape. As the lyric proceeds the self becomes entangled in this ‘world’ it is destined to leave. In the end, from the point of view of the self, every poem is posthumous.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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