29 August 2006

A brief reflection on a quote by Rilke

"For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences."
—Rainer Maria Rilke

I came upon this quote yesterday while clicking through links on some blogs (I wish I had made note of where I found this....) Poetry Thursday's writing prompt this week is to reflect on one poem. Instead I think I'll reflect on this quote.

I like that it states that poems are "not...simply emotions". It doesn't reject the emotional, but reflects on the depth of those emotions. It's easy to think of experiences as being the superficial, with the emotion of that experience what comprises the memory of it. But, with a poem, in capturing the essential feeling of the experience, the poet captures the emotion and creates a new experience.

And then, that experience of the poem -- or the memory, the emotion, of it -- becomes the reader's own experience, her own emotion, yet another new 'creation'. I like the iterative nature of that, like the painter painting himself into the landscape with a painter painting the landscape....

1 comment:

litlove said...

This is a lovely post, Cam. I wholeheartedly agree that poetry is experience, in the way that a dream is an experience that also asks you to ponder over it. I believe that there's a link between the word poetry and the word performance too, to indicate that language puts on a choreography or a show in the space of the poem.