Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Essence of Poetry (Part 2)

“Writing poetry appears in the modest guise of play. Unfettered, it invents its world of images and remains immersed in the realm of the imagined . . . Poetry is like a dream, and not reality; a playing with words, and not the seriousness of action.”

“Existence is ‘poetical’ in its fundamental aspect . . . Poetry is not merely an ornament accompanying existence, not merely a temporary enthusiasm or nothing but an interest and amusement . . .That our existence is fundamentally poetic, this cannot in the last resort mean that it is really only a harmless game.”

“Poetry looks like a game and yet it is not. A game does indeed bring men together, but in such a way that each forgets himself in the process. In poetry on the other hand, man is reunited on the foundation of existence. There he comes to rest; not indeed to the seeming rest of inactivity and emptiness of thought, but to that infinite state of rest in which all powers and relations are active.”

“Poetry rouses the appearance of the unreal and of dream in the face of the palpable and clamorous reality, in which we believe ourselves at home. And yet in just the reverse manner, what the poet says and undertakes to be, is the real.”

(Martin Heidegger, “Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry”)

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