Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Running out of words

Ineffable, anthropomorphic, symbiosis, syncretism--all words I've written on the board in classes this week, and if you think it's easy to define ineffable in terms a freshman would understand, go ahead and give it a try. A.R. Ammons once claimed that "Nothing that can be said about [poetry] in words is worth saying," but I haven't yet figured out how we're supposed to talk about poetry without words. 


And speaking of words, a student this morning had trouble with the word nestles, pronouncing it nest-less. A freshman shoved rudely out of a warm, cozy home without a reading habit might well feel nestless, lacking words to describe the ineffability of her overwhelmedness, but the cure is to nestle into a world of books, starting, perhaps, with the dictionary.

But this is the time of the semester when words fail. We're all too tired, too busy, or too lacking in energy to seek out the words we need. I find myself speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in this naked and endless head--or wait, that's not me; that's Allen Ginsberg.   

No comments: