Dialogues and a Diary

By Igor Stravinsky; Robert Craft | Go to book overview
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January 16. Washington, D.C. Visit from St.-John Perse. He says that his Nobel speech provoked young Swedish physicists to ask if he thought a scientific explanation could be found for the germination poétique. "They said they were tired of hearing about the opium of the irrational. I told them to substitute 'experimental for 'opium'--the experimental irrational--and said that poetry can only begin there, which is to say in the inconsequence of the absurd. The application, in the logic of the word, can be scientized, of course, though I have not tried to do it myself, or anything more than develop my intellectual maîtrise." Talking about "le hazard," Perse recalls a conversation with Einstein, who said that "God does not throw dice" and that the idea of a chance universe made him dizzy. I.S. says he simply does not understand chance in art. "One has a nose. The nose scents and it chooses. The artist is like a pig snouting truffles."

Perse criticizes the "canalization into logic," of all philosophy, by English and American "university philosophers," and he defends Heidegger's theory of the beginnings of poetry with quotes from him on Hölderlin and Trakl. I.S.contends that the university today "is really only a department store, because art itself is no longer allowed to be the teacher, and the emphasis is removed to 'the teacher as artist' of 'the art of teaching.'"


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Dialogues and a Diary


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