Monday, May 19, 2014

My two previous posts have touched on the concept of accessibility, and I love reading what you have all said. At its most basic, accessibility is, I think, simply a private link at a particular moment. Milosz, in his Nobel acceptance speech, said, "I wouldn’t know how to speak about poetry in general. I must speak of poetry in its encounter with peculiar circumstances of time and place." Accessibility, then, is not only an element of the relationship between poem and reader; it is also the web that fastens a poet to history. Milosz's remark feels right to me.

Probably we've taken this subject as far as it can reasonably go, at least in the fractured context of a blog, so I'll let it drop now. But I will leave you with a bit from Virginia Woolf's review of a biography of Christina Rossetti. It is not exactly pertinent to the Milosz quotation, yet something vibrates between them.
Here is the past and all its inhabitants miraculously sealed as in a magic tank; all we have to do is to look and to listen and to listen and to look and soon the little figures--for they are rather under life size--will begin to move and speak, and as they move we shall arrange them in all sorts of patterns of which they were ignorant, for they thought when they were alive that they could go where they liked; and as they speak we shall read into their sayings all kinds of meanings which never struck them, for they believed when they were alive that they said straight off whatever came into their heads.

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