Last Sunday I was fortunate to attend a poetry master class with Phil Hall called the Poetics of Sequence. Phil Hall was the 2011 winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry and the Trillium Book Award for his collection of essay-poems Killdeer. Killdeer is a book I have not read but will be reading soon. After a brief afternoon in a classroom setting I am curious to read more “of” him.
The event was presented by Word Thaw 2015 and Planet Earth Poetry. Part of the description that jumped out of me was: this lab . . . will investigate relations between parts and fragments of writing, and aim toward a theory of proximity and juxtaposition beginning with Jack Spicer’s and Robin Blaser’s notion of “sequence,” and going backward and forward from there.
I thought YES! – because this is what I’ve been wrestling with as I go through my half written, almost written and written poems.
Here’s what resonated that afternoon:
Phil told us “I am not really a master, just a tryer.”
“Poems should echo and reecho against each other. They should create resonances. They cannot live alone any more than we can” Jack Spicer
There was something about “arrangement of language so that reality is rearranged” but I’m not sure who said it.
“Bewilderment as a poetics and an ethics” Fanny Howe
The concept that poetic sequence is a break with Kronos (chronological time). The other way of using time is “Kairos” which is described as the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). In essence there is a break in time, a moment in which everything happens. The suggestion here is that you can gather these moments of intense reality in Kairos and put them together to say something.
“After all, the point of art is to show people that life is worth living by showing that it isn’t.” Fanny Howe