Wednesday, May 28, 2014

art is fidelity to failure (as beckett says, and holub repeats here)

Certainly a poem is only a game.

Certainly a poem exists only at the moment of origin and at the moment of reading. And at best in the shadow-play of memory.

Certainly one can't enter the same poem twice.

Certainly a poet has the impression from the beginning that no purpose exists, as Henry Miller has said.

Certainly art becomes generally acceptable only when it declines into a mechanism and its order becomes a habit.

But in its aimlessness, in its desperate commitment to the word, in its primal order of birth and re-birth, a poem remains the most general guarantee that we can still do something, that we can still do something against emptiness, that we haven't given in but are giving ourselves to something.

The most general guarantee that we are not composed only of facts, of facts which, as Ernst Fischer says, are deeds withered into things.

Provided a poem, which is the poet's modest attempt to put off disintegration for a while, is not regarded as the philosopher's stone, bringing salvation and deliverance to stupefied mankind.

For art doesn't solve problems but only wears them out.

For art is fidelity to failure.

For a poem is when nothing else remains.

Although ...

-- Miroslav Holub
from "Although"

1 comment:

  1. i have been struggling with this for some time as miroslav holub is not saying any one thing but is saying everything here, but he is saying all of those things which reside in the one thing which defies being spoken succinctly, and so what he says expands from nothing to everything and back to nothing again. except this. this he says plainly and importantly: risk. and failure. distance. opportunity. life.

    how easily this about the poem might apply to the photograph. at maria's fourteenth i recently saw that she quoted garry winogrand, "Great photography is always on the edge of failure."

    what else has value? how might anything have any worth if success is definite?

    and so your choice of photographs, the rare moment of the crow within the frame, jetting recklessly elsewhere, is perfect.