Saturday, May 17, 2008


On page 169 of The Mathematical Experience by Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh, the authors write: Aesthetic judgments tend to be personal, they tend to vary with cultures and with the generations, and philosophical dis- cussions of aesthetics have in recent years tended less toward the dogmatic prescription of what is beautiful than toward discussion of how aesthetic judg- ments operate and function. This book, which I am jaggedly reading, was published by Houghton Mifflin Company Boston and copyrighted in 1981 by Birkhäuser Boston. Back in the early 1960's, when he and I were Jesuit novices at a facility near St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, the late Lawrence Deysach told me: "Math is the greatest art." It may well be this is true; and if it is, it is because beauty can be more easily seen and affirmed in mathematics than in any other art, though music is a close second, or architecture is. Poetry? From my perspective, each poem's about its own aesthetic or interactions of aesthetics. A poem succeeds when it adheres to/radiates what is at the heart of it. So, the strength of its core does matter; but one could argue till time's demise about what constitutes aesthetic strength. Every poetic school is like every school of unlike fish, and what attracts one maker of poems may not attract some other maker of poems. No manner of using words is patently better than any other, but certain manners may be more appropriate for their culture. The culture we in The United States are passing through, and have in one form or another been passing through since this nation's founding? Slippery and slimy. But this is the land of the free, the home of the brave, the melting pot of the world. Exactly. Let the myriads of attention be: indeterminate, determinate; sign, signified; I erased, I raised. And to those who think it is really possible to obliterate ego and authorship, change your names to some number anonymous. When I was old enough to understand, I accepted I am Brian Salchert. That is my label. My passage on this planet requires it. I, however, do not require it for myself, however it may seem I do. I question it. Most of what I've written is old school stuff, one might conclude. Perhaps I'm a carp among rainbow trout; but old school or not, most of what I've written reveals a man at odds with himself. That is my indeterminacy. As to beauty, it seems to have lost whatever relevance. In an empire in decline, a planet inhabited by a sentient species in decline--oh, specific amazing discoveries might yet arise and reverse what is, a hard-edged purposefully ugly poetry could be a saving tonic for (rather than another symptom of) what ails. I make no judgment here. Nescio (I do not know) defines me well. Beauty--also truth--are concepts each human perceives differently at different times. On April 24, 2008 I posted the first entry of a math project I placed the final touch on today/ over at my S H blog. 13 entries. It needed to be, and I am satisfied it is, and how it is. Still, I did not abandon my other interests, and have searched my way to poetry posts helpful to me. One addresses procedural poetry, and another concerns the University of Arizona's Conceptual Poetry Symposium. Nathan Austin's A defense of (procedural) poetry is on his This Cruellest Month blog. The second is an enewsletter from the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona. Both of these-- and of course there are numerous others-- engage poetry aesthetics not to my taste, but of which I feel I should acquire more knowledge. Adrift in/ a drift adrift. Rho00074

No comments: