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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."

4 comments:

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

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

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  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!

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  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.

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