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Friday, October 29, 2010

From Proust

Often one hears nothing when one listens for the first time to a piece of music that is at all complicated. And yet when later on, this sonata had been played to me two or three times I found that I knew it perfectly well. And so it is not wrong to speak of hearing a thing for the first time. If one had indeed, as one supposes received no impression from the first hearing, the second, the third would be equally "first hearings."


  1. I still love Proust. And for this very reason.

  2. Ricoeur's "Time and Narrative" (a challenging philosphical work) is bringing me back to Proust and his profound ideas of time.

  3. Hi.

    Today someone left a comment on my blog and I went back to re-read the whole post. I also read the comments on my post, and I saw your comment. My life was pretty chaotic when you posted in January (because I about to get married and also about to graduate from college!), but I appreciated your thoughts and I meant to reply.

    You commented on my post "Why I Hate Poetry," which I actually posted back in May of 2008. You suggested that based on my blog post, you believe it isn't poetry that I actually hate. You wrote that poetry is not as subjective as I imagined, and that it is about language. You suggested that I read poetry that I like and not read poetry that I don't like, and you offered some suggestions.

    I wanted to let you know that I have changed my opinion of poetry since the time that I wrote the post. My blog is kind of like a journal, you know, and at the time I wholeheartedly believed what I was writing. In some senses, I still do. But overall, I think your characterization was correct: what I hate is not POETRY so much as POETRY TAUGHT POORLY. When a reader is granted the freedom to read poetry they like, and the freedom to enjoy poetry on his or her own terms, poetry can be incredible.

    Since the time that I wrote the post, I've had a couple great professors who very skillfully integrated poetry into our study. For me, the experience was pleasant and insightful. Through some of the poems, I felt a sense of connection to the world. I deeply enjoyed some of the language. One of my classes required us to write our own Gertrude Stein style poems, to help us read hers a little better. I loved it!

    I wish I had some of my papers out from those classes so that I could tell you which specific poems actually made the difference for me. I don't remember; I would have to look.

    Anyhow, thank you for your well-considered comment. It got me thinking, and I felt like you really hit the nail on the head. Sorry it took me so long to reply!

  4. Emily, I'm thrilled to hear it. As a professor of poetry myself, one of the saddest things I encounter is the misplaced animosity for poetry. If poet isn't pleasurable, it's nothing.