Hun 8, 2013

Usapang Oppen

Nitong Enero lang, nagkaroon kami ni Hani Julien ng daldalang online tungkol sa tulang "If It All Went Up in Smoke" ni George Oppen. Nakakuha akong permiso upang ilabas ang kanyang bahagi ng balitaktakan. Simulan natin sa mismong tula:

that smoke
would remain


the forever
savage country poem's light borrowed

light of the landscape and one's footprints praise

from distance
in the close
crowd all

that is strange the sources

the wells the poem begins

neither in word
nor meaning but the small
selves haunting

us in the stones and is less

always than that help me I am
of that people the grass

blades touch

and touch in their small

distances the poem
begins



D— Oppen! Pwede ka nang bumuo ng sariling poetics (for life) based on these three lines alone: "neither in word / nor meaning but the small / selves haunting"

H— Lakas maka-meta nito ser. Kaaliw. Yung mga putol at pag-hold back, bits and pieces ng thoughts at imagery, at yan ngang, "small / selves haunting," brings to mind yung idea ng poetry as the subject of itself. Parang lutang lang at "we are infinite" ang peg sa kabuuan. Hehe

D— yung meta talaga nito, hindi maiiwasan. poetry does not merely represent experience, but is itself experience. kaso parang kalahati lang ng tula kung hindi matitingnan yung mga bahaging hindi naman (entirely) solipsistic. tulad nung from distance / in the close / crowd all. i suppose distance is subject position, tas yung "close" ay yung tula? pero, ayun nga: "crowd all" so either isinisiksik sa tula ang lahat o umaalagwa ang tula sa pangkalahatan. well, ang saya, tama ka, holding back. kaya ayun, ambivalence. so heto i'm looking at "distances the poem" in at least two ways bec of your "we are infinite"

H— Ka-inspire nga po yung comment ng tula sa proseso ng pagtula na ginagawa na niya mismo sa tula.

"the sources

the wells the poem begins
neither in word
nor meaning but the small
selves haunting"

Habang yung tula e mukhang nagho-holdback lang kaya nagpuputol, pwede ring kine-cleanse nya yung sarili nya, sini-sift o pina-pound, "us in the stones and is less" tas yung mga susunod na linya, ayan na, "blades touch / and touch in their small / distances the poem / begins," as if sinasabi na pag nasala na yung moments, at ang meron ka na lang ay view nung mga maliliit na pagitan between blades of grass touching in small distances--parang ito rin yung "crowd all" na nagsisiksikan and yet umaalagwa--sa ganyang kondisyon lumalabas yung poem na "infinite". Hehe. Tas ang reader, mare-realize na nga lang na parang buhay buhay lang din ito.

Stray observation: yung "of that people the grass / blades touch", reference din po kaya kay Whitman?

D— tiyak yun! people of the grass ang dating sa akin niyan, so poets esp of the whitmanian stripe. or pwede ring artists in general in the sense of grass = jutes, haha

digress lang, pero ang dating sa akin nung blades touch at saka nung siwang sa pagitan ng blades (small distances) ay parang yung unang image dito sa some trees ni ashbery, yung mga dahon ng puno, tsaka yung siwang sa pagitan nila na sabay at mutual ang konsepto ng distance at joining (at na sa mutuality na ito ibinabase ang tula, kung hindi pa nga mismo ang lahat ng talastasang posible)

Some Trees
by John Ashbery

These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance

To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try

To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.

And glad not to have invented
Some comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges

A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Place in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.

H— "Merely being there" bilang communication. Communicating in silence/stillness, or more of, ang communication ay nangyayari with and within their context (the trees' distance and joining). Their being in a position where they are "far this morning / From the world as agreeing / With it, you and I" ay conversation and the conversation is communicating something.

Curious yung pagsulpot ng second person, "you and I". Pwedeng "poet and reader," or "poet and a specific person." Pero pwedeng character lang din naman ito tinuturing as in "agreeing / with it, you and I", and not necessarily the poet breaking the nth wall.

Pero ang pinakamabentang mensahe e yung pag-juxtapose sa emergence ng noise, happy noises, in fact, and yet the kind na hindi nagko-communicate the way the stillness--the joining and aloofness--of the trees does. Pasalamat pala tayo sa trees, poetry, art! Dahil without art, ang matitira na lang sa earth ay "eh". Haha

Sa kabilang dako, ang sakit sa bangs lang magbasa, parang kelangan naka-squint ka lagi na parang may sinisipat sa pagitan ng trees. Hehe

Re: Whitman at "grass people". Iba rin yata ang tama ng leaves kay Oppen kasi matahimik at naghoholdback unlike Whitman, at iba pang alagad, for example, Ginsberg.

D— objectivism daw ang diskarte ni Oppen. pag-aaralan ko pa lang ito at hindi ko pa lubusang maipapaliwanag, pero mukhang malaki ang utang nito sa imagism nina williams, pound, et al at ng modernism nina eliot, pound et al na parehong imposible kung wala si whitman. pero itong mga spare versification na andaming gaps, mukhang mga anak ni dickinson ang mga ganyan. nga lang, (pa)intimate masyado ang grass ni whit: what i assume you shall assume, na clearly hindi (lamang) ito ang stance na gusto ni Oppen (at baka rin ni ashbery, at least sa some trees) may distances daw dapat, may squinting of eyes effect (ika mo nga). at yun parang naghanap sila ng form na makukuha yung sense na yun ng distance plus communion . . . or better yet, (baka) distance plus recognition of distance (poetry?) equals communion. kaya heto ang mga gaps, masasayang enjambment. pero may mga tinanggal ding espasyo kay oppen dahil walang punctuation (of that people the grass)

or art mismo ang communion/solidarity, hence ... "Dahil without art, ang matitira na lang sa earth ay 'eh'."

H— Iba pa ba ito sa objectivism ni Ayn Rand? HAHA. Kasi I assume ibang-iba. LOL

Defensive yung Wikipedia entry: "Note that while the name is similar to Ayn Rand's school of philosophy, the two movements are not affiliated, and are, in fact, radically different." Haha *basa*

D— took me some time to find this, but oppen's ballad gives us what could be a very overt anti-academic stance ("The rocks outlived the classicists") that was to be a sort of objectivist seal

Ballad
by George Oppen

Astrolabes and lexicons
Once in the great houses—

A poor lobsterman

Met by chance
On Swan's Island

Where he was born
We saw the old farmhouse

Propped and leaning on its hilltop
On that island
Where the ferry runs

A poor lobsterman

His teeth were bad

He drove us over that island
In an old car

A well-spoken man

Hardly real
As he knew in those rough fields

Lobster pots and their gear
Smelling of salt

The rocks outlived the classicists,
The rocks and the lobstermen's huts

And the sights of the island
The ledges in the rough sea seen from the road

And the harbor
And the post office

Difficult to know what one means
—to be serious and to know what one means—

An island
Has a public quality

His wife in the front seat

In a soft dress
Such as poor women wear

She took it that we came—
I don't know how to say, she said—

Not for anything we did, she said,
Mildly, 'from God'. She said

What I like more than anything
Is to visit other islands...

H— May naaalala po ako dito na tula na nabuklat sa isang high school textbook sa Calamba (CEGP activity yon. Haha). Not sure kung Teo Antonio pero kilalang makata ito. Basta ang title nya ay parang "Ang Paaralan" o "Ang Aking Paaralan" tas ang nagsasalita ay mangingisda, kinekwento yung experience at mga aral nya sa laot, tipong, ang kanyang lapis ay [insert pamalakaya tool/terminology], ang kanyang papel ay [insert same same]. Traditional ballad sigurong maituturing yung pagkekwento though di ko na pinansin ang form. (Kinopya ko sa isang notebook yun, hanapin ko later for comparison. Hehe)

Ang curious ako ulit ay sa kumento nya sa proseso/experience ng pagsulat at pagbasa ng tula at sa panulaan mismo. Mas klaro at walang bitiw sa imagery ito sa kabuuan e, kumpara dun sa "If It All Went Up in Smoke" at "Some Trees." Tempting na sundan lang yung kwento/anecdote, at of course, talinghaga. But no. Can't be. Masangsang ang simoy sa isla.

So I had to Wiki and relearn ballad at i-explore pa yung historical context. Haha. Obviously, hindi pormang ballad yung tula pero yung subject matter, bilang anecdote nga ng rural life, ay pam-ballad. Then na-realize ko na mas hindi pa nga yun ang fishy e. Mas yung public character ng ballad versus canon/classics, at yung irony na ang ballad naman bilang porma ay galing din sa lab ng academe tas na-popularize (not sure about this but if it's the other way around, ang klaro e yung porma pa rin ay isang tradition/convention at hindi natural na paraan ng pag-objectify sa mundo).

So ang anti-academic stance ay yung dunong mula sa islang ito, sa mga batuhang ito, na hindi maitatanggi ng poor lobsterman who "knew in those rough fields / Lobster pots and their gear / Smelling of salt", na "The rocks outlived the classicists," etcetera. Narito ang mga salita, ang mga panukat... na kahit yung poet ay mahihirapang gagapin kung hindi danas (very Whitmanian, I think).

Kaya dun sa part na nagsalita na yung wife, alam na natin kung paano kinaaadikan at dyino-dyos ang public quality ng isla pero at the same time, gusto ring takasan/layasan ito. (LSS! Argh.)

"She took it that we came—
I don't know how to say, she said—

Not for anything we did, she said,
Mildly, 'from God'. She said

What I like more than anything
Is to visit other islands..."

At ang pagtakas/paglayas, kahit pansamantala, ay kita na rin sa kung paano ito ginawa ng tula sa sarili nya. (mga dash, napuputol na train of thought, lumilipad na isip, etc.)

I guess yun din yung objectivist seal? Gawing guinea pig ang mismong tula ng stance/poetics/politics? Tulad ng "Our days put on such reticence / These accents seem their own defense." ni Ashbery kung saan ang "still performance"/siwang at joining (these accents) ng trees, which I assume, ang tula, and being that this whole canvas is in itself an object, is also its own defense?

Whew. Parang gusto ko muna pradyekin yung mga imagist. Hindi ko pa nabasa si Ezra Pound, mas Williams lang pero hindi ganito kadugo. Haha

D— madugo rin si williams, pero so far mas gusto ko ang "dugo" ni oppen. maganda yung pagbasa mo sa ballad at sa pag-angkin ng piyesang ito sa pormang iyon. gusto ko talaga na biglang nagsalita yung wife, pagkatapos ng pa-astrolabe effect ni poet, ng pagpokus sa lobsterman at sa isla, biglang nagsalita na yung wife na kung tutuusin bukod sa gustong umalis ay gusto ring maranasan naman ang maging turista, ang maging perceiver i suppose as opposed to just perceived (by tourist, classicist, and even the oppen persona . . . baka nga pati ng lobsterman hubby nya)

H— Bukod sa gustong umalis ay maranasan ang maging turista. Hehe. Oo nga. Ayos. Hindi ko pa naman nabasa si Williams nang masinsinan bilang imagist, more of leisurely lang in comparison kay Whitman, which was such a relief. Haha. Nahatak lang talaga ako nung Oppen poem. Intense.