22 March 2012

Robert Duncan

[from Robert Duncan's The H. D. Book, California, 2012]

Threads are spun out and are woven, from event into event. Hands work the dancing shuttles of a close net to make things real, to realize what is happening. A tapestry of a life appears in the mesh of many lives, a play. But just as when we weave a complex of lines a cloud or atmosphere appears, a texture or cloth, something more than the threads told, and out of that texture appear, not only the figures we were translating into our design, but other figures of the ground itself; so a “life” appears in the work itself. The weaving or the painting or the writing is “subjective,” is an act out of however we can do it; the “subject matter” is “objective,” is some thing or event as actual as ourselves which we reach out to capture, to draw into a texture with ourselves. In the medium, our work and this thing become mixed, changed then.  A ground appears as a new condition of what we are doing. . . .

“the mind is upborne upon the emotional surge” [Pound]

There is a threatened chastity of mind in Pound that would put away, not face, the thought of hellish things, here in considering the Divine World, as later in considering fascism, where also he cannot allow that the sublime is complicit, involved in a total structure, with the obscene — what goes on backstage. Spirit in The Cantos will move as a crystal, clean and clear of the muddle, even the filth, of the world and its tasks thru which Psyche works in suffering towards Eros. . . .

The style of the artist, his signature or control, is . . . analogous to his character, the operation of energies in repression, of challenge and attack upon the world about him . . . The grace of the artist is analogous to his nature, a given thing, the operation of energies in freedom, of response and self derivation from the world. Style, being wrested from Nature, is mastery; Grace, being given, is the service. The Art here being to keep alive in one process mastery in service, service in mastery. . . .

Paradise or first Eden survives in its never having yielded satisfaction. A rapture that leaves the poet hungry for rapture.

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