Will Alexander: I’m Will Alexander, and this is PoetryNow. The first practitioners of language were poets because they had to describe what is a tree. We always take a tree for granted or a star or a rock or a cave or a ravine. But those things had to be named creatively when they were first noticed. The freshness of discovery is what I’m talking about here. We find in traditional societies that poetry was integrated, you know, and respected. And the poet was understood as a symbol of health. And you know, the modern world, to me, started around 1923 with the inception of advertising culture. You know, things begin to be reduced to buzz words. They get into your subconscious and your psyche, and you’re humming jingles, you know, sometimes, without realizing it. In those conditions, language has been used to commodify itself. Language has basically been worn out that we’ve been using. When the language is dying, it reflects the non-health of the civilization out of which it springs from. We can begin to understand our deeper insights into ourselves through a different wavelength or use of language that’s not threatened by commerce. In other words, to bring language back to a kind of accuracy, or a kind of medicinal quality that you may have found in previous cultures. I think this is what the poet is there for, for he or she to resurrect this sensitivity of language.
Not broad or gregarious inaccuracy but refined exploratory drift evolved as proto-micro diagnosis. At this plane of sensitivity a dispatch of nerves explore themselves via vigorous angles that subsist as intermingled wave-lengths. For instance, a blue correlation of mirrors that function as impalpable devices empowered by analytical recitation of cellular fire spawned inside of opaque dimensions having nothing in common with utilitarian belief, yet being something that exists beyond registered finding that registers in terms of palpable result. Because the dark remains stored by means of caliginous registration it never beams as a three-dimensional statute that summons itself as an unmoving noun. I am not speaking via grammatical punctuation or the brutality of stationary conquest pattern but as electrical residue claimed as hyper-magnetic insight.
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You know, sometimes there’s a fire in the forest or something, and we say, “Oh my god, it’s fire.” But you know, sometimes it breaks down things so that they can grow back. Grow back in a stronger and more charged manner. So this is what I’m looking at, is the breaking down the old so that we can recharge the energy field. To break down, to build up.
Katie Klocksin: That was Will Alexander and his poem “Hypersensitive Emanation.” I’m Katie Klocksin and this is PoetryNow, a production of the Poetry Foundation. For more about this series, go to poetryfoundation.org/poetrynow.