Saturday, February 25, 2012

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Artaud writes:

"I am quite aware of the jerkiness of my poems, a jerkiness which derives from the very essence of inspiration and which is due to my incorrigible inability to concentrate upon an object."

For Artaud, any attempt at refining his poems threatened his mental equilibrium. Thus a jerky poem is less an unfinished work than a reflection of the poet's condition. Could the same be said of one of Artaud's "cleaner" poems, as in, the poet was having a "good" day?

Years ago, during a lecture on Roland Barthes, Stephen Scobie told a story of one of Bob Dylan's more optimistic songs, "When the Ship Comes In" (1964), a song that was written ("in a vituperative rage") minutes after the musician was refused entry to a hotel (where he was staying) for being "unkempt."

At bottom is a version of "When the Ship Comes In" by Peter, Paul and Mary. The clip is from a UK program "brought to you by" British Petroleum. The child whose face Mary is cleaning before taking the stage belongs to her daughter, Erika Marshall.

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