Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Along with that Mallarméan extension into "poème critique," I was thinking more practically of the Nordic terser tenser praxis in Tomas Tranströmer's way of showing associative thinking. In Baltics "VI," he actually writes of trying to remember what comes to mind ("det påminner om något / it reminds me of something") when he sees the old island graveyard and feels himself standing there ("jag var dår / I was there") as he had stood somewhere else. Then he sees it was Prague's Jewish cemetery ("ghettokyrkogård"). The new publication of Sam Charters' translation has photos by Ann Charters providing illustration. They show the island life of which he writes. However, if we had an insertion of a photo of Prague's ghettokyrkogård like the verbal version Tranströmer inserts, we might literally see how that image exceeds its use in the poem. The sufferings of the Baltic islanders and the concentrated culture of fishing/shipping/living on those islands is imaged in the crowded stones he sees, but the other stones he sees from Prague have further associations: it is what we might call a useful remainder.