I-Reflections on calculated poetry 15/5/13

the idea of quantum poetics is a fascinating one, but I was having trouble thinking the idea through. Maybe it’s something to do with the uncertainty of a poet’s meaning–a poet says something, and you feel what they try to convey, but as soon as you try to rationally approach a well-written poem for the sake of its material element–the words–alone, it ceases to make sense to you. The millipede wonders how it’s able to coordinate its legs, and trips itself up immediately. This could, in a sense, be related to the “particalizing” of quantum waves; we measure it, and realize that it’s not really there, and that all measurement is uncertain.

Interesting. But I was having trouble articulating the thought. Then Jesse decided he had to steal my thunder. To paraphrase what he said in class on Wednesday: “A word can have infinite meaning–the moment you subjectively impose meaning on a given word, you particalize it.” This goes back to our Tuesday seminar about the total subjectivity of signifiers–the word “tree” could signify a Doug Fir, Oak, Birch, etc. yet the very specific phrase “the tree” is usually understood in context.

I’m intrigued–metaphorically speaking, how does a poetic “particle,” in the form of words and syntax, take shape according to its aesthetic “wave?” I reference back to the week 2 reading of Bringhurst, the chapter from “The Elements of Typographic Style.” He shares an interesting theory of the relation of certain patterns and how they stimulate our senses. Certain geometric patterns correspond with the spacing of words and the overall material presentation of a book. These patterns, which occur everywhere in Nature, are, for an indefinite number of reasons, pleasing to the eye. There is an entire web of correspondence here, from smells to the notes of musical intervals. Different patterns–of notes, of layouts, of any aesthetical presentation–evoke different emotions in different ways, depending on how the stimulus in question is perceived. I have a very strong feeling that the hippocampus is strongly associated with this whole process.

So basically, different styles of expression, such as those experimented with by Queneau, must evoke things differently. Thus they are, in a sense, certain means through which certain semantic/aesthetic (my use of those two words are arbitrary more often than not, though the difference is something I hope to further understand) “waves” can “particalize.”

Thanks to Jesse for triggering my neurons.

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