The Poem: At Seminal Depth
The poem, at its most seminal depth, is a lighted flambeau, within the storms of mystery. Strictly speaking, it is not a verbal object cast into view by an opaque cadaver. The latter being the author primed by spoils of acclaim, by the momentary flash of his or her appellation in lights. The peculiar personality, with its deficits and conundrums, cannot claim the poem as his or her “property” of “ideas”, this “property” amounting to no more than opinion, the latter, being less stable than shards of glass retrived from shattered windows. Indeed, in terms of “deep time”, the poem is alchemical currency is comingled with anonymous transmission, “consistent with the Philosophia Perennis.”
In contraidistinction, the provincial psychology haggles over after-effects, over likes and dislikes, all this in keeping with what I’ll describe as ancilliary tribulation. If all that remained of Rimbaud consisted of breaking up banquets or cursing out a magistrates, we would, indeed, be left with an unsustainable charisma. Because, in the end, the cosmos itself leaves us as an untraceable anonymity, it is incumbent upon the poet to leave us works alchemically wrought.
Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and visual artist. He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001, a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002, and American Book Award in 2013. He is recently the author of Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat (Essay Press).