Wednesday 18 March 2015

The Surreal Solidarity of Metaphor

In a long reply to Chad Campbell's review of Sue Goyette's Ocean, Phil Hall rebuts Campbell's assertion that bad metaphors cause her book to sink like a stone:
Piled up, protean, Goyette's metaphors of ocean and society just make no sense, says Campbell. Clearly.

Which is not the point.

Campbell misses, in his procedure, by his template, the surreal solidarity of metaphor, how it smears logic to expose deeper & wider unity.

This is the alternative tradition of Neruda & Lorca. This is Calvino's Invisible Cities.

Ocean is not coming out of the tradition of Milton's Lycidas & Tennyson's Maud with their track-able system of similes & symbols.

This poem does not come out of the tradition that is being used here to judge it.


Patrick Warner said...

“This poem does not come out of the tradition that is being used here to judge it.” But surely if we are all one, and everything is one, a position that Mr. Hall seems to endorse in his review (“In Goyette’s Ocean, metaphor is a way of telling the lost story of how all of us are one” p.15), then there is only one tradition in English poetry and so anywhere within that tradition is as good a place as any from which to arrive at a judgement. It seems that Mr. Hall is willing to invoke the idea of boundaries when it suits. I know, that darn logic again.

Zachariah Wells said...

Laura Bast has a review in the new CNQ that engages both Campbell's review and Hall's response.

EJ said...

Is there a more vacant twentieth-century word than 'surreal'?

Unknown said...

Everything is always a little surreal. See the link below for more info.