Thursday, September 19, 2013

Enlightenment, don't know what it is (Van Morrsion)

Enlightenment says the world is nothing
Nothing but a dream, everything's an illusion
And nothing is real (Van Morrison)

In this post, I thought I'd try to extend my deep double exposure photo from that last post with a glimpse back at my first ever journal.

Ever since 1979 I've kept records of my thoughts as journals (not diaries). The blogosphere is now the natural home to those thoughts (those stories of my reality that Life Of Pi touches on - The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story? The telling of something always becomes a story).


I know it was 1979 because I was introduced to journal writing at Auckland University when I took a stage three poetry paper under the guidance of Roger Horrocks and Wystan Curnow. By stage three English I'd learned that anything organised by those two dudes was going to be amazing.

The idea that Horrocks/Curnow had was that their students for this paper would keep a discovery journal during the course and hand it in regularly for comment. I loved having a vehicle for my weird thoughts/ questions/ideas about the poems I was reading for the course.

I was a big fan of Robert Bly's poems (still am actually). Here's a fairly typical section from my 1979 journal on 'deep image' - Bly's vague term - he used it to variously describe 'a notion of the poetic image which involves psychic energy and movement' and 'a geographical location in the psyche'. Yeah, right! I still don't know what that means.

But that didn't stop me having a go back in 1979 when I was trying to organise my thoughts around this concept and, even then, I used references from popular culture to do it:

'Looking into a tide pool' is a deep image prose/poem.

(Looking into a tide pool.
 It is a tide pool, shallow, water coming in, clear, tiny white shell-people on the bottom, asking nothing, not even directions! On the surface the noduled seaweed, lying like hands, slowly drawing, hands laid on fevered bodies, moving back and forth, as the healer sings wildly, shouting to Jesus and his dead mother)

 And here's a bit of my journal entry:
The pool is only shallow but the life inside that one pool is huge. Every time I hear the expression 'deep image' I see a picture in my mind. This picture is only about 1/16th of an inch thick on one level but a couple of hundred feet deep on another level. It is literally deep. the picture I am thinking about is the cover to a jazz record released in 1962 called Undercurrent by Jim Hall and Bill Evans.

I photocopied the LP cover for my 1979 journal.
I was so drawn to this scene when I saw it. I couldn't believe it was done in 1962 but jazz covers were more liberated in the late 1950s/60s. This is DEEP IMAGE to me - someone or something buried deep under the surface trying to raise itself just enough to be recognised. Like the images of a poem.

She is buried yet her face can look out - like the tip of an iceberg. Beneath the surface is her body, beneath her body is suspended time in the water, beneath the visible bottom  is another world. There is so much space between the individual things (body, water, ocean floor).

What an incredible picture - I can feel the lightness of floating. The baptism in the poem is a deep symbol. Her body in the picture is relaxed, submissive, free. Who is she? Why is she there? What does it mean?

I tend to get carried away at times.

More from my journal next post.

Love and peace - Wozza
A.K.A. (from the title page of my 1979 journal) Warren Purdy 4 Ramelton Road, Mt. Roskill, Auck 4. 674 595)

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