Spelter to Pewter
>Read Berni M Janssen's introduction to Spelter to Pewter.
I have written elsewhere that we need the transformative power of art, any art, in order for life to be endurable. (This is not original; Nietzsche more or less said the same.) In ‘being, its own reward’, I say that ‘I have no power of observation, and mere description (mimetic simile) leaves me cold’, for I believe in potential literature, the potential of literature. This is especially true of conceptual poems, such as these contained here, although I have splashed a few similes about (who could live without ‘like’?). I also said in my poem that ‘[p]oetry, like water, is necessary for life to flourish. Like breath. Unpredictable’. Anaïs Nin saw the journey of art in terms of a solar barque (commun[icat]ion); John Ashbery, a psychopomp (communicator) – and André Breton had his ‘communicating vessels’, where they, like most artists, called upon mythology to further their insights.
I also mentioned in ‘being, its own reward’ that art does not replace life. I agree with T S Eliot on the ‘continual extinction of personality’, if he meant autobiographical or so-called confessional poems, and with Voltaire, who said that poetry was the music of the soul. The conceptual poems here ‘forget the currents’, whatever the vogue is nowadays, instead finding their ‘own level, above and below consciousness.’ Being is its own reward. Words are empty vessels for the reader to fill. We do not need (auto)biography. Is not poetry a journey, an odyssey or an exploration of sorts? I end (my poem) by saying ‘[w]ithout poetry, we are deluded; we should surely grow older earlier.’