Acts of Mind: Conversations with Contemporary Poets

By Richard Jackson | Go to book overview

Dara Wier, 1981


The Languages of Illusion

POETRY MISCELLANY: The last poem in Blood, Hook & Eye ends: "You look at the mountain / miss the mountainless space, / the mountain holding mountain in place." Something is always absent in your very concrete language that gives that language its sense of mystery; the invisible or the absent seems to order space, to hold things in place. There seems to be an invisible marginal script that links the intimacy of the moment with an immensity which is all that lies behind or beyond it, to steal a concept from Bachelard Poetics of Space. In a more recent poem, "In Obedience to Absence," you talk about mirrors that "revise space"--"These mirrors will show you where / you would have been." Always, more or less is shown--"You've turned toward seeing / what you never intended." Perhaps we could begin by talking about this mystery that so characterizes your language.

DARA WIER: A mystery is something I wish to contemplate and to ask a reader to contemplate; it's not a puzzle to be solved. If you solve a mystery you're done with it, and I want the mystery to be one that resists a solution, that allows you to take off in other directions.

I think this may originate in the Catholic theology I learned in a very unsophisticated way when I was young. I was always told that you were supposed to contemplate a mystery, and I always wanted something to happen to me when I was sitting, waiting. The thing I missed was that I was supposed to make something happen. One day I realized that the body

-132-

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Acts of Mind: Conversations with Contemporary Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • The Path of Saying 1
  • The Sanctioned Babel 7
  • Untelling the Hour 13
  • The Domain of the Marvelous Prey 19
  • The Hallowing of the Everyday 27
  • Event: Corrective: Cure 32
  • Stepping into the Sky 39
  • Unnaming the Myths 48
  • On the Horizon of Time 53
  • Distilled from Thin Air 61
  • The Imminence of a Revelation 69
  • Renaming the Present 77
  • Lives We Keep Wanting to Know 84
  • Doubling the Difference 93
  • Questions of Will 101
  • Settling in Another Field 107
  • Living the Layers of Time 113
  • Double Vision 120
  • Emergencies of the Moment 126
  • The Languages of Illusion 132
  • The Mystery of Things That Are 140
  • Before the Beginning 146
  • On the Margins of Dreams 153
  • Unbreakable Codes 158
  • Projecting the Literal Word 164
  • Answering the Dark 172
  • Shaping Our Choices 178
  • Magic: Power 183
  • On the Periphery of Time 191
  • The Candle in the Pitcher 196
  • Selected Bibliography 206
  • Index 213
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