You Must Change Your Life
Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: Penn State University Press
Preface and Acknowledgments
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What follows is an attempt to work philosophically with poetry in a way that respects its manner of presentation. Of course, one could attempt to ferret out conclusions and their supporting premises, approaching the poem as a kind of argument.1 ...
Introduction: Engaging the Work of Art
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Without much exaggeration, I can say that most of the reflections gathered here take their leave from this poem that, in 1908, initiated the‘‘other part’’ of Rilke’s New Poems.1 In fact, near the center of this study and at its rim the poem’s final two lines vibrate like a tuning fork, keying the leading questions and lines of inquiry: ...
1. Heidegger’s Ear
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These are some of Heidegger’s starkest claims on behalf of poetry, claims lying at the heart of a dialogue with poetry already underway in the 1927 lecture course entitled ‘‘The Basic Problems of Phenomenology’’ and still percolating in the 1972 remarks on Rimbaud. ...
2. Living Poetry
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At this point we have some sense for what orients Heidegger’s dialogue with the poets: ur-poems, poems of poetry, and in two senses: such poems concern poetry (in fact, the grounds of poetry) through events of autofiguration. And precisely because autofiguration is at issue, ur- poems belong to and even issue from the poetry they figure. ...
3. The White of All ‘‘I’s’’
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Having explored what an ur-poem is and having witnessed its import, I would now like to consider what I take to be a contemporary instance of ur-poetry. I do not turn to Charles Simic’s work in order to ‘‘test’’ or‘‘vindicate’’ Heidegger’s style of interpretation, however. ...
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The power of White—and thus a pivotal part of the power of Simic’s ur-poetry—lies in the silences that occur precisely at the points at which one expects to locate the white, that is, a substantive ground for the poetizing that is to be found there. ...
5. Characterizing the Cosmos
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Ur-poetry’s power lies in its ability to expose and figure the origins of sense. By ‘‘sense,’’ I mean the manifold ways in which beings come to presence, the ways in which they come to be there as beings. One might regard a teacup as an object, for example, and identify its many traits: a porcelain container with a handle, and so forth. ...
6. ‘‘Then Came History’’
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We have been thickening our feel for Simic’s ur-poetry and what it entails—endless tasks of converting ourselves into the conversions that we relentlessly are, that is, into the polyphony of underdetermined, singular, co-presencing characters that surround and permeate us, rendering us apolyphony unto ourselves. ...
7. Preserving the Possible
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Introducing poems by Aleš Debeljak, Simic writes: ‘‘My sense while reading Debeljak is that this is what pondering one’s life feels like in this waning century’’ (Simic 1994a, 119). Less than a decade later, the century having waned, my thought while reading Simic is that this is what pondering (or better yet, experiencing) the birth of sense is like. ...
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Our discussions began with Rilke’s ‘‘Archaic Torso of Apollo,’’ and I stated that I wanted to explore how a work of art might address us such that it could change our lives. With the help of Martin Heidegger, and limiting our attentions to the work of Charles Simic (thus forgoing any attempt to speak of art in general), we have considered the idea of ur-...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2002
Series Title: American and European Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: General Editors: Charles E. Scott and John J. Stuhr, Associate Editor: Susan M. Schoenbohm