Friday, May 15, 2009

Olson Essay

The interview between Stephen Colbert and Elizabeth Alexander introduced an intellectual topic in a humorous manner. Colbert interviewed Alexander in a short period of time but he was able to obtained valuable information that the audience may have been wanting to hear.

In the interview Alexander tried to maintain a serious and important topic. A response, in particular, from Alexander, caught my attention; "[poems] should be emotionally true", she then elaborates that there must be "something in the poem that feel is true…that is how you connect to the poem". If Olson would have been present in this interview, he would of agreed with most of Alexander‘s response.

To elaborate more on this response, let’s look at Olson’s essay Projective Verse. At the beginning, Olson discusses about Kinetics and its role in poetry. His firsts thoughts: "A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it" (Olson). This simple theory relates to Alexander’s response to Colbert’s questions "Poems aren’t true?". Alexander explained that there has to be something behind the poem that must be true, something that made the poet write about, and Olson’s kinetics ("high-energy construct") proves this. Even though Alexander’s response relates to Olson’s ideas, I believe Olson would of answered this questions in a much better manner. He would of elaborate more on it and go deeper into what separates poems between fiction and reality.

Moving forward, another question asked by Colbert; "What’s the difference between a metaphor and a lie?" created a deeper conversation yet comical. Colbert then continues to elaborate on the question by asking Alexander why can’t you just say what you mean without using "flowery language"(Colbert). Alexander’s response consisted on the definition of a metaphor and she argued that they are used just for comparison instead of facts. She responded that "a metaphor is using language where you make a comparison to let people understand something as it relates to something else." Poetry is about what the poet might be going through at some point, and the flowery language adds to those emotions. The idea of using metaphors can easily relate back to the idea of Kinetics (energy). As metaphors are being use by poets to increase meaning between their experiences and emotions, they also want to create this "energy" between their words and their audience. But going back to Olson, if this question would have been asked to him, he would elaborate more on the idea of what a lie really is? Olson had this intellectual perspective about life and he would of rather maintain the focus on the "lie" then into the "metaphor".

One of the last questions asked by Colbert was "What is an occasional poem?". He brought up a good point because readers, at times, may wonder about the occasion of the poem and if it is meaningful. Alexander simply responded "an occasional poem is a poem written for an occasion" (Alexander). The context of the poem is written for a certain event, an event that any reader could relate to. The good thing of poetry, is that it can be interpreted in various ways, which provides the audience with the option to interpret poems in any way they want.

Both Olson and Alexander agrees in similar aspects of poetry. Even though they write about different "occasions", they maintain the idea of writing with emotions yet giving the audience space to interpret their poems as freely as they can. Both Olson and Alexander use language to increase meaning. While Olson keeps his topics to be about Gloucester, to introduce this city to those who have never lived or visit it in a philosophical style, Alexander is more realistic and writes about events that are currently happening. The interview with Colbert, opened our minds to compare and contrast these two poets. With few knowledge of Alexander’s career, and with a higher knowledge of Charles Olson’s poetics, this interview would have been more meaningful is Olson was the one being interviewed. Even though Alexander never went off topic, her responses were quite simple. Olson, on the other hand, would have answered with the same ideas but he would have put more thought on his responses.

The interview would of definitely gone differently if Olson was present. I dare to say that perhaps if would have been less humorous and more intellectual. During Ferrini’s film "Polis is This", Olson was introduced as this high-intellectual man. Olson would of made this interview still interesting, he was a people’s person as many mentioned in Ferrini’s film, but he definitely had this influence over people that made everything more intense and profound.

No comments: