Poem and Poetry
The Story of a Poem
This chapter provides a transcultural story of a poem: what a poem can do and how we can make sense of poetic experience, poetic embellishments, poetic growth, intensity, and revelation. However, this chapter works itself out on what Ghosh theorizes as infusion-trans-now. This makes possible the intermeshing of a variety of paradigms and concepts across multiple traditions, be it Sanskrit, Spanish, German, Chinese, Arabic, Bengali, or Anglo-American. The chapter is written in three Acts, on what a poem is, poetic experience, and poetic language, that tell us a story of a poem’s uniqueness, its accoutrements, impact, and contemporary status. This is a fresh narration of the establishment and remarkability of poetry conducted from a compelling transpoetical position. In fact, the story of poetry, Ghosh concludes, does not end for poetic experience is all about revisitation and reclamation. The story of the poem always ends with a beginning.
Western Theories of Poetry: Reading Wallace Stevens’s “The Motive for Metaphor”
After an initial, admiring discussion of Ghosh’s development of a subtle, complex, and capacious theory of poetry in his chapter 3, Miller asserts that what is most striking about Western theories of poetry is their diversity and their rootedness in changing historical contexts. He then goes on to try to account for just what happens in his mind, feelings, and body when he does a detailed reading of a poem by Wallace Stevens, “The Motive for Metaphor.” He stresses that he did not know initially where his reading was going to lead. Though Miller makes reference to a number of theorists (Aristotle, Benjamin, de Man, and Stevens himself), his empirically reached conclusion is that all the theoretical knowledge in the world is of little help in the actual business of reading a given poem in its uniqueness and in its resistance to inevitably oversimplifying theoretical presuppositions.