As/Is







6.14.2015


The Resonant World, The Shuddering World



Poets have a choice: to keep their poems and books circumscribed by the limits of humanity and the charmed circle of the human, or to include what Keats and the other major Romantics sought to include in their poetry, what I call the resonant world, the shuddering world. The resonant world textual model seeks to include the idea that living energies which surround humanity, but are not strictly human, energies which inhabit forests, skies, mountains, trees, bodies of water, and the like, effect in an interstitial way human consciousness so that the human brain, and all its byproducts, benefits from exposure to and interaction with these elements. Human consciousness resonates with, and shudders in response to, these interactions, which not only stimulate but consummate the human imagination, as in Shelley's Mont Blanc.

Resonant world and shuddering world energies were not favored in twentieth century literature. Modernism and (even more extremely) post-modernism made a point of emphasizing the deadness, superficiality, and illusory nature of resonant world or shuddering world textual connections. By remaining within humanity's charmed circle and ascribing adolescent immaturity to any attempted chiasmus, made in an emotionally earnest way, with nature, Modernism and its own byproducts shut down Romanticism's enterprise most self-consciously, and with an attempt to make this shut-down permanent. If I want to re-open the issue in 2015, it is because the question of human susceptibility to energy sources past the merely human is both too stimulating and too fascinating to let go of permanently, as the Mod and po-mo cognescenti so hoped.