AG: (Ezra) Pound’s analysis of poetry, which I mentioned some time before included melopoeia, which is what we’re dealing with now, the melody, rhythmic melody, phanopoeia , which I started with in the first class which was the casting of a picture on the mind’s eye, the moving-picture part of the poem, or the still picture, and then logopoeia – did anybody.. does anybody remember what logopoeia is? anybody? define logopoeia, as in Ezra Pound? – I think I mentioned it. Somebody must know?, figure it out? Melopoeia‘s music, Phanopoeia’s picture – Logopoeia?
Student: The poetry of the idea
Peter Orlovsky: The sense of the poem?
Student: The poetry of the the idea
AG; Yeah? Well, what does logo(s) mean?
Student: The image?
AG: Word. Words, yes. So, you know, so the playfulness of language of the words in “I Syng of A Mayden That Is Makeles”, (you have fantastic rhythmic delicacy, so you got melopoeia) – Do we have much phanapoeia in there? – Yeah, ‘” As dew in Aprille/ That fallith on the gras”, as real green, you, immediately, you know, that casts a very definite picture in the mind’s eye – “that fallith on the gras” – “that fallith on the flower”- “that fallith on the spray”. So there is a single repeated picture-image in there that takes care of the phanopoeic movie part. Right? Is that clear?. So you got.. you got the rhythm, you got the phanopoeia, but also there is a logopoeia here, like ” “I Syng of A Mayden That Is Makeles” (I sing of a maiden that is mate-less – that is “without a match” , being a pun on – “without a match, without an equal”, also “without a mate”.
So there’s a kind of pun there and also it’s the… as Pound described it – quote – “the dance of the intellect among words” – unquote (that’s his definition for logopoeia), ” dance of the intellect among words”, and the subtlety among words – “King of all kings/for her son she chose” [” to here sone che ches“] – so there’s a… in addition to the melody there, there being no picture particularly (except, unless you can picture a “King of..kings”, or a “son”? – but that’s a very vague picture) . But what the.. the beauty there is the playfulness of the language – ” King of alle kinges/ for her son she chose” (she chose for her son the King of all the kings). So.. all through the poem (including “as dew in April/that falls on the grass..that falls on the flower..that falls on the spray“), the little playfulness, not only musically but with the idea or the words – “And mother and maiden/were never none but she” ” Moder and maiden/ Was never non but che” is pretty funny – I mean, (it) gets in your ear after a while – ” Was never non but che ” – So that’s all the subtlety of the simple words themselves (is that clear?) is appreciable. I mean, appreciable in the sense that everyone can see how sweet the little play of words is in here – the double-negative – Was never non but che ” –
Just the idea of a mother and a maiden, or a maiden that is without a mate is, in itself, a play of idea and a play of words – maiden/makeless [maiden/makeles] – there’s music there but there’s also kind of funny punning. “The dance of intellect among words”, or playfulness and wit of words. Word-wit. Word-music, Word-wit, Word-picture. Logopoeia, Melpoeia (melody), (and) Phanopoeia.
What does – “poeia” – mean, anyway? Anyone know Greek? – P-O-E-I-A
Student: From poesis?
A G: Right, Poesis. What does poesis mean? Making?
AG:. Making. Poesis, in Greek, making..ah, makeles..making. So the ancient word for poetry is constructing, or making, or building, or, making,..what is making
AG: Establishing?, affirming?
AG: Weaving? – But is that built into the etymology of “make” ? – Quite interesting, because, don’t forget, the (William) Dunbar poem that we’re going to read is (a) “Lament for the Makers ” (“Lament for the Makaris “) . In case anybody wondered what makeles ( makeris) meant, (what) “makers” was.
And so, Melody-making,. Picture-making, Word-wit-making (or Wordsworth-making!)
So Pound’s theory of poetry is you make up pictures, and you make up music, and you make up funny words, which, if you put it right down like that is pretty easy, then it’s just child’s play – making up pictures, making up tunes, and making up pretty words. So, in other words, poetry really is like child’s play in that way. If you take it… if you get lost in vague ideas and forget that there’s any kind of melody and rhythm and forget how funny words can be, and forget to make even a picture then naturally the poetry gets boring. or, you know, nobody wants to read it but if you stick with the picture and some music and some intelligence about the words then naturally there’s something to interest, like a little toy puzzle, to interest anyone. And if you do it in your own language, that is with your own rhythms, the way you speak, vernacular, then it’s like regular speech of everyday, but all of a sudden heightened by your own intelligence of speech and mindfulness that you’re putting into it – extra-picture, extra-pretty-music, and extra-sense to the words. So it’s just ordinary mind heightened by a little more awareness, or intelligence, or energy, that you put into it (even more energy that you put into it)
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-three-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty minutes in]