Supreme Fiction and Some Notes?

I may be looking into this a little too much, but if I remember from both Modern Poetry and Gyno Mod, we discussed Wallace Stevens’ concept of the Supreme Fiction. I may not grasp it completely yet, but aside from the notion that religion, or any notion of God, is not real but willingly believed. I’m struggling to remember how to properly connect it to poetry, but this (to me, so far, if I am potentially right) seems to alter our conception of reality capturing, crystallizing to something supposedly “real” and right. Am I rambling? Maybe a little bit.

Point! Point!

Reading the ending of “Some Notes on Organic Form” by Levertov struck reminds me of Wallace Stevens’ Supreme Fiction:

The X-factor, the magic, is when we come to those rifts and make those leaps. A religious devotion to the truth, to the splendor of the authentic, involves the writer in a process rewarding in itself; but when that devotion brings us to the undreamed abysses and we find ourselves sailing slowly over them and landing on the other side–that’s ecstasy.

Heart-stammering ending? Yes. Modernist influence on these Contemporary poets? I don’t think I’m crazy here. HAPPY BLOGGING!

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One Response to “Supreme Fiction and Some Notes?”

  1. sarahkelly says:

    Some Notes on Some Notes on Organic Form – The Other Sarah

    I don’t think you are rambling at all. Levertov does mention God-things in her essay, it’s true. “It means, not simply to observe, to regard, but to do these things in the presence of a god.” She explores the idea that the poet, in their attention to the experience they contemplate in the poem, perhaps sees something reverent or prayer-like in it. I suppose it makes sense, if prayers are seen as acts of communication without really asking for anything in return. Sort of like hymns? Or I suppose pleas at times? I hope that wasn’t a weird thing to say.

    I think this is the most important part of the essay:

    “ In the same way, content and form are in a state of dynamic interaction; the understanding of whether an experience is a linear sequence or a constellation raying out from and into a central focus or axis, for instance, is discoverable only in the work, not before it.”

    Levertov makes the argument that content and form already exist in experience. It is the way in which the poet engages in and translates this experience onto the page that allows them to create and shape meaning. In the same way, the way in which we engage with these texts as readers shapes the way we perceive them.

    The form of the essay itself can be seen to imitate the ideas that she discusses in its content. It becomes an exploration of organic form, in how Lebertov understands the process of poetry as “the inscape of a sequence or constellation of experiences.” She views organic poetry to be a combination of intellectual and emotional experience that is translated to us through language. The sense of play with language present in her essay reflects this also. In her explanation of organic poetry, what impacted me most upon reading it was the visceral rather than explanatory definitions she provides.

    “A religious devotion to the truth, to the splendor of the authentic, involves the writer in a process rewarding in itself; but when that devotion brings us to undreamed abysses and we find ourselves sailing slowly over them and landing on the other side- that’s ecstasy.”

    Her statement here is so true to the nature of language as a dynamic means to convey experience. It’s so true that I had to type it out again even though Upma already typed it out for us. Language in the essay, as it functions in organic poetry, becomes exploratory. I’ve never sailed in an essay before, but it seems to me that that this description is an effective way of allowing us to understand the importance of poetry as Levertov sees it. Her descriptions in this sentence are rooted in the cerebral rather than in our expectations of the content of an ‘essay’, and there is something truthful to be found in it. Maybe that’s what counts?