Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quote du Jour: Of Jane Kenyon

The excerpt to follow is taken from an essay entitled "Our Lady of Sorrows" by Greogry Orr. The essay is included in "Bright Unequivocal Eye": Poems, Papers, and Remembrances from the First Jane Kenyon Conference:

I'd like to shift now to what I think Jane Kenyon writes, the personal lyric, which takes the story of the "I," the individual self. I think culture invented lyric poetry along with religion and philosophy to help people understand the world, and to discover ordering powers. But religion and philosophy are different in that they propose external ordering powers that exist outside the self, and which the self must align with. What's amazing about the personal lyric is that culture gives the individual self the tools to order and the self has to do the ordering itself. It's a personal struggle, a struggle to create what Frost calls "a momentary stay against confusion." This is what the lyric poem is: a gift from culture to the self to deal with existential crises. What do I mean by existential crises? I mean all kinds of disorder, but especially the buried self, the world of feeling and subjectivity, what it means to be a self in the world.

To compose one's own scripture. To interpret one's own dreams...