Oswald and the Between

Alice Oswald is an eloquent witness to the poetics of the metaxy or Between. Her Oxford lectures document her field experiences of what William Desmond calls ‘the threshold between forming and form’ (Intimate Universal 458). (Readers of this blog will recognize our theme ‘form emerges.’) This early poem reflects a more conventional sense of the I/self compared to the selves of ‘Nobody,’ her latest collection before the Oxford lectures. Its rhetoric —- the center, Easternight—- would dissolve as her poetics develop. But the sense of the between becomes translucent for the appearing of ‘the intimate universal’ —- intimate as opposed to conceptually determined. The discourse of ‘moment’ would give way to the liquid flow say of music in what Desmond calls the creative ‘porosity.’


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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