Poetry, and language, and sense, and the material


That is quite a charming phrase actually, “language’s resilience against sense,” coming from the collection of my poet-friend and which is difficult to lead astray from the memory of the signifier-signified. Ironically, the earlier Charles Peirce, once transposed well into the contemporary time, provides a necessary extension of the more famous ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure, particularly the latter’s signifier-signified dichotomy. Peirce already formulated the needed inclusion of the ‘interpretant’ that shall mediate between the representation (‘tanda’ o ‘signos’) and the object, what I read as roughly corresponding to the Saussurean signifier and signified. This third term, the ‘interpretant’ is essential for it gives a material grounding to the signifier-signified pair whose analyses mainly revolves within the realms of language and thought (‘sense,’ in Janine’s author’s note). And the expansion of the horizon where poetry (first as thought or sense, and then as language) dwells and springs is complicated when we recall a key facet of its existence: the more material facet of the tangible, breathable world, more closely, the poet who wields the pen, who thinks and who utilizes language.

Hence, I suggest that poetry is more than the already gallant task of prodding language’s ‘resilience against sense,’ notwithstanding how charmingly we put into words such insights. Poetry, with all its encapsulating the poet and her thoughts and faculty and manipulation of language, anticipates attrition and then revival from its perpetuated engagement with the material world. This engagement does not exactly signify language’s resurgence against the material (the world), but its keeping at pace with this material unfolding, either through representing it, or challenging it, or transforming it.

Mula ito sa Adivay
Mula ito sa Adivay
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2 thoughts on “Poetry, and language, and sense, and the material

  1. Love the language of the post, and I’m still sorting out the meaning. Your graduate student mind is evident here. I’m hoping to return to academia soon. Best wishes to you there and here at your blog.

    1. Hey,t hank you for being here! The meaning is for you to sort out, not for me to unveil. But if you think that is too postmodern or something, then i think most of what I have to say are already in the post. 🙂

      The academia is too indulging and reassuring to me, perhaps that is precisely why I am still there and keep on wanting to be there. Best wishes to you too, and when you return to the academia maybe you can tell about that in your blog. 🙂

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