Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013.06.02 Hooking a Soul

I’ve always thought that the arts offer a special perspective, somehow able to transcend in-your-face reality without discounting or prettying it. All great arts transmit faith, hope and love, these three—and the greatest of these is hope, light as a feather and just as profound.   

But shouldn't the greatest be love as St. Paul said in I Corinthians 13?  Only if that love is God's.

Poet Frank Bidart, according to a Poets and Writers (May/June, 2013) interview, admits to a potent distrust of love, as if it would win out in the end. A quote from his 2013 book Metaphysical Dog, describes his disillusion, and has been true of his own life:

    “As a boy you despised the world for replacing
    God with another addiction, love.”

Bidart is “skeptical” that romantic love can validate one’s life but admits that all love is saying yes to something.  He says yes to art.  “It’s the closest thing to God I have found. Art is the way I have survived.”

Here is one of Bidart's poems that exemplifies the saving power of the art of poetry and acting: (Ennis Del Mar is the main character in Annie Proulx’s short story “Brokeback Mountain” and Heath Ledger is the actor who so superbly played Del Mar in the movie.)

“Poem Ending With a Sentence by Heath Ledger”

Each grinding flattened American vowel smashed to
centerlessness, his glee that whatever long ago mutilated his

mouth, he mastered to mutilate

you: the Joker’s voice so unlike
the bruised, withheld, wounded voice of Ennis Del Mar.


Once I have the voice

that’s the line

and at

the end
of the line

is a hook

and attached
to that

is the soul.