Thursday, February 23, 2006

"The Poet"

"The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. He is a sovereign, and stands at the center."

"the poet is the namer, or language maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence, and giving to every one its own name and not another's, thereby rejoicing the intellect, which delights in detachment or boundary. The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses."

"The condition of true naming, on the poet's part, is his resigning himself to the divine aura which breathes through forms, and accompanying that."

"The poet knows that he speaks adequately then only when he speaks somewhat wildly, or 'with the flower of the mind'; not with the intellect used as an organ, but with the intellect released from all service and suffered to take its direction from its celestial life; or as the ancients were wont to express themselves, not with intellect alone but with the intellect inebriated by nectar."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet")

Monday, February 20, 2006

Quoth the Raven (N)evermore . . .

"would we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls, we should immediately discover that under the sun there neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly dignified - more supremely noble than this very poem - this poem per se - this poem which is a poem and nothing more - this poem written solely for the poem's sake."

"The struggle to apprehend the supernal loveliness - this struggle, on the part of souls fittingly constituted - has given to the world all that which it (the world) has ever been enabled at once to understand and to feel as poetic."

"music in its various modes of meter, rhythm, and rhyme is of so vast a moment in poetry as never to be wisely rejected . . . there can be little doubt that in the union of poetry with music in its popular sense we shall find the widest field for its poetic development."

(Edgar Allen Poe, "The Poetic Principle")

"And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!"

(Edgar Allen Poe, "The Raven")

à la mode . . .

à la modism

. . . ism


s h h h

( ! ! ! )


Copyright © 2005 Marco Alexandre de Oliveira

Sunday, February 19, 2006

How Romantic ! ! !

"Behold, then, a new religion, a new society; upon this twofold foundation there must inevitably spring up a new poetry . . . [Art] will set about doing as nature does, mingling in its creations - but without confounding them - darkness and light, the grotesque and the sublime; in other words, the body and the soul, the beast and the intellect; for the starting point of religion is always the starting point of poetry. All things are connected."

"Let us then speak boldly. The time for it has come, and it would be strange if, in this age, liberty, like the light, should penetrate everywhere except to the one place where freedom is most natural - the domain of thought. Let us take the hammer to theories and poetic systems. Let us throw down the old plastering that conceals the façade of art. There are neither rules nor models; or, rather, there are no other rules than the general laws of nature, which soar above the whole field of art, and the special rules which result from the conditions appropriate to the subject of each composition . . ."

"The poet - let us insist on this point - should take counsel therefore only of nature, truth, and inspiration which is itself both truth and nature."

(Victor Hugo, Preface to Cromwell)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

the word . . .

the word

. . .

the word is the sound of the echo of the voice of the silence
the silence is the word for the sound of the echo of the voice
the voice is the silence in the word for the sound of the echo
the echo is the voice of the silence in the word for the sound
the sound is the echo of the voice of the silence in the word

the word

for the sound of the echo of the voice of the silence
in the word for the sound of the echo of the voice
of the silence in the word for the sound of the echo
of the voice of the silence in the word for the sound
of the echo of the voice of the silence in the word

the word

the sound
the echo
the voice

the silence

. . .

Copyright © 2005 Marco Alexandre de Oliveira

A Word . . .

"If the lost word is lost , if the spent word is spent
if the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word."

(T.S. Eliot, "Ash-Wednesday")

Monday, February 13, 2006

"A Defense of Poetry"

"A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth."

"poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted."

"A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds"

"Poetry is indeed something divine. It is at once the center and circumference of all knowledge"

"Poetry is not like reasoning, a power to be exerted according to the determination of the will. A man cannot say, 'I will compose poetry.' The greatest poet even cannot say it"

"Poetry . . . is, as it were, the interpenetration of a diviner nature through our own; but its footsteps are like those of a wind over the sea, which the morning calm erases, and whose traces remain only as on the wrinkled sand which paves it."

"Poetry . . . transmutes all that it touches, and every form moving within the radiance of its presence is changed by wondrous sympathy to an incarnation of the spirit which it breathes; its secret alchemy turns to potable gold the poisonous waters which flow from death through life; it strips the veil of familiarity from the world, and lays bare the naked and sleeping beauty which is the spirit of its forms."

"poetry . . . compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know. It creates anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration. It justifies the bold and true words of Tasso: Non merita nome di creatore, se non Iddio ed il Poeta."

"Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

(Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Defense of Poetry)

"Non merita nome di creatore, se non Iddio ed il Poeta"
("None merits the name of creator except God and the Poet.")

Friday, February 10, 2006

Writer's Rite

with words I sow
the seed of Life
along a long row of lines –
read the signs and reap
my story, a mystery
in rhythm and rhyme

a maze in hieroglyphs,
my amazing monomyth
in many ways
frames a clumsy, clever phrase
wherever I wander
here or there
in sight of insight,
whenever I wonder
now and then
how to write
the years of tears and laughter,
once upon an ever after . . .

as a master of the Arts,
in souls I seal an omen –
the power to awaken
the flower of wisdom,
the key to kingdoms
hidden within the heart

for in Truth I share the roots
that bear forbidden fruits,
the tree of knowledge in a nutshell
spoken in a spell,
a vision in a verse –
union in the universe

well all is all well
in heaven and hell –
why ask why?
so I say so I
tantalize the wise with rapture,
once upon an ever after . . .

Copyright © 2003 Marco Alexandre de Oliveira

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"Poeta nascitur non fit" ?!?

"A poem is that species of composition, which is opposed to works of science, by proposing for its immediate object pleasure, not truth; and from all other species (having this object in common with it) it is discriminated by proposing to itself such delight from the whole, as is compatible with a distinct gratification from each component part."

"'The man that hath not music in his soul' can indeed never be a genuine poet . . . the sense of musical delight, with the power of producing it, is a gift of the imagination; and this together with the power of reducing multitude into unity of effect, and modifying a series of thoughts by some one predominant thought or feeling, may be cultivated or improved, but can never be learnt. It is in these that 'Poeta nascitur non fit.'"

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria)

"Poeta nascitur non fit"
("a poet is born, not made")

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Que tem que ter
Uma máscara para mergulhar
No espelho do mar
Da existência

E no fundo
Do fundo sem fundo,
Na presença
Da ausência

Até confundir
Tudo enquanto nada –
De tornar-se
Contudo, com tudo

Quando, confuso
Canta seu encanto
Dos mares aos ares
Do mundo

Copyright © 2004 Marco Alexandre de Oliveira

Words (Un)Worthy of Wordsworth !?!

"What is a poet? To whom does he address himself? And what language is to be expected from him? - He is a man speaking to men:"

"Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all science. Emphatically may it be said of the poet, as Shakespeare hath said of man, 'that he looks before and after.' He is the rock of defense for human nature; an upholder and preserver, carrying everywhere with him relationship and love. In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs: in spite of things silently gone out of mind, and things violently destroyed, the poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time. The objects of the poet's thoughts are everywhere; though the eyes and senses of man are, it is true, his favorite guides, yet he will follow wheresoever he can find an atmosphere of sensation in which to move his wings. Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge - it is as immortal as the heart of man."

(William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads)

Monday, February 06, 2006

In Memory of Time Immemorial . . .

"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present."

(T.S Eliot, Four Quartets)

Words by Mallarmé

"La Poésie est l'expression, par le langage humain ramené à son rythme essentiel, du sens mystérieux des aspects de l'existence : elle doue ainsi d'authenticité notre séjour et constitue la seule tâche spirituelle."

"Poetry is the expression, by means of human language brought back to its essential rhythm, of the mysterious sense of existence: thus it endows our stay on earth with authenticity and constitutes the only spiritual task."

(Stéphane Mallarmé)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Text in Context

You see here I hear a voice;
I hear You see here a choice . . .

I thought I had
(You did) something
to say.

Oh yes! (Oh no!)
I know! (You too?)

I wish I were
(You are) someone
who knew (You do)

some way somehow
(no way anyhow)
to be

Me among You
free from fantasies
of identities to

that which is that which is not.

but and but if as if
there were this or that there –

where? (here!) wherever . . .
any place where many faces wear
masks that come and go, asking for a cameo . . .

when? (now!) whenever
it is time or time is it?
time for all the rhyme and rhythm verses visit;

while with some wit
some way I say . . .

say what? whatever . . .
and how? however
way You want it!

so it is so
forever never ever
to question
why or why not nor
to answer
because just because! . . .

even though (and though)
I know You know,
even so (and so)
in every echo
a moment of silence –

even then (and then)
a sense of essence;
even when (and when)
sounds surround
the real reveals
the presence of absence –

while meanwhile . . .

I hear You see here another choice;
You see here I hear another voice . . .

though no other can be other than the other –

so I hear or so You see
a text in context
always and anyway
never for ever more . . .

and beyond
what was said
but between
what was read
the Truth lies! . . .

Copyright © 2004 Marco Alexandre de Oliveira

What is Poetry?

"A definition of poetry can only determine what poetry should be, not what it really was and is; otherwise the shortest definition would be that poetry is whatever has at any time and at any place been called poetry."

(Friedrich Schlegel, "Athenaum Fragments")

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"On Naive and Sentimental Poetry"

"The poets are everywhere, by their very definition, the guardians of nature. Where they can no longer quite be so and have already felt within themselves the destructive influence of arbitrary and artificial forms or have had to struggle with them, then they will appear as the witnesses and avengers of nature. They will either be nature, or they will seek lost nature."

"The poetic spirit is immortal and inalienable in mankind, it cannot be lost except together with humanity or with the capacity for it. For even if man should separate himself by the freedom of his fantasy and his understanding from the simplicity, truth and necessity of nature, yet not only does the way back to her remain open always, but also a powerful and ineradicable impulse, the moral, drives him ceaselessly back to her, and it is precisely with this impulse that the poetic faculty stands in the most intimate relationship. For this faculty is not forfeited along with the lost simplicity of nature; it merely assumes a new direction."

(Friedrich Schiller, "On Naive and Sentimental Poetry")