Sunday, August 31, 2014

Something I Read #1 — Wheeler, Sources, Processes and Methods

From: Kathleen Wheeler's Sources, Processes and Methods in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria (Cambridge UP, 1980).

In the specific application of art to this demand for reflection and self-consciousness in the subject, the formulation is a demand for control by the artist over his material. 'Selbst-beherrschung durch Selbstbeschränking' [self-control through self-limiting] is the first reflective act for the artist in relation to his material. This self-consciousness we can relate to the more general conception above of the perceiver or subject in relation to the world. The artist must be in control of his material so that he does not embody his own unconscious limitations, his prejudices, customs, and habitual responses, all the things which constitute his ego, into his 'material' or into the works of art. If he fails to restrict this tendency of the ego to image itself into everything it does and knows, his art will be limited and lacking in universality. But this conscious process is permeated by another process which we might refer to as instinct, or the energy of the infinite and the 'unconscious'. Genius is the interpenetration of the 'Absicht' by the 'Instinkt': 'In jedem guten Gedicht muss alles Absicht, un alles Instinkt seyn' ['In every good poem everything must be intention and instinct.']

(First translation mine, using the language of the book.)

In every good poem everything must be intention and instinct: the opposite of the diaretics of contemporary poetry culture.

Movie Night #1: 300: Rise of an Empire and Only Lovers Left Alive

300: Rise of an Empire: I have great faith in Zack Snyder as a director. I believe he has the potential for greatness, and Watchmen is a first claim to that status. The first 300 was limited by the script: it could only go so far, and he did go that far. I've only seen it once, but I believe Man of Steel is far better than people give it credit for. Now, Rise of an Empire was directed by Noam Murrow, but Snyder enjoys part of the writing and producing credits. And it is very difficult not to see the second as following the path of the first. Which is why that first paragraph, and now we can set Mr. Snyder aside, and consider the movie its own. Except not wholly, for there is also a parallel between Rise and Sucker Punch: they both begin to fall apart at some point in the film. (I love Sucker Punch, but it did get away from Snyder.)

I was quite impressed with Rise up to the sex scene. The writing was tight, the dialogue very well written, with no small poetic flourish and a willingness to resist being dumbed down to the level of your average comic-movie viewer. The one thing I could not stand was the 3D effects. Working 3D into the film just for the sake of having things come at the audience is clumsy film making. Good 3D will never have a point where the audience goes "the reason they did that was to take advantage of the 3D." (I point you to Monsters vs. Aliens, and the commentary thereon.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A First Post for a New Endeavor

Which is really to say a post that serves also as a test post while I fiddle with details. Though, I do not at all consider the current format the final format. It is still very embryonic, just enough for me to start playing with the content. (Really. Look at that lame header.)

As opposed to my other blog, The Poetry Daily Critique, this blog is meant for something of play. It will permit me to write on topics that do not fit within the PDC, write posts that cannot bear any length, and permit me also to post just for the sake of sharing found things. (Secretly, it is also something of a site for exploration, and a venue to keep me off of Facebook, of which I am really becoming tired. Most of the time I posted to facebook the context was but excuse to play at writing; with this blog, hopefully, I will have a different outlet.)

Yes, some few of your may know that I used to have a second blog, "The Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson Uploaded" was its wieldy name. I killed it for three, related reasons:

  1. It never had a solidly defined or capably energized purpose to begin with (outside of exploring blogger).