This analysis opens so many doors we cannot run through at once! How comes “the journey” to be an organizing tool? How long philosopher’s have been burrowing yet harvesting little truth from their centuries of conversation! And yet we, like ideas through the art of writing, are somehow distilled, as we make the journey from signifying to sanctifying.
The art of poetry coheres around a common field that supplies us with our common humanity. At a time of “the breaking of nations” poetry is an often overlooked resource. It comes in large and small packages. To make sense of Dante’s “comedy” requires a feeling for that core of common experience.
Critics may disagree about the “exact” nature of that “experience” — if only because it is impossible to put into determinate, “critical” language. Images, however, can telescope the various dimensions, the criss-crossing relativities and proportions that inform a good poem large or small. Much of the labor of writing poetry is in successive attempts to getting all these angles focussed for the reader. As the Lu Chi”s third-century “art of writing” emphasizes, only after much rewriting will “passions come into perspective” (Sam Hamill’s translation). The art of poetry consumes a lifetime; one is never quite sure one can…
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