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February 25, 2008

from fernando with quieted love

came across a passage in fernando pessoa's Erostratus: The Search For Immortality   that i thought would be good to share (personally i think this applies to much more than poetry) ::

"A great emotion is too selfish; it takes into itself all the blood of the spirit, and the congestion leaves the hands too cold to write. Three sorts of emotion produce great poetry - strong but quick emotions, seized upon for art as soon as they have passed, but not before they have passed; strong and deep emotions in their remembrance along time after; and false emotions, that is to say, emotions felt in the intellect. Not insincerity, but a translated sincerity, is the basis of all art."


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Comments (15)

I want to write, but out comes foam. I want to say so much I freeze; there is no spoken cipher which is not a sum, there is no written pyramid, without a core. I want to write, but feel like a puma; I want to laurel myself, but stew in onions. There is no spoken cough, which does not end in mist, there is no God nor son of God, without its telling. For that, then, let's go eat grass, the flesh of sobbing, the fruit of wailing, our melancholy soul preserved in jam. Let's go! Let's go! I am struck; let's go drink that already drunk, let's go, raven, and create your rook.

Posted by: Vamonos! at February 25, 2008 2:54 PM

oh i love you for this post! 'book of disquiet' is one of my favorites ever ever

Posted by: anna at February 25, 2008 3:24 PM

i love the "emotions felt in the intellect"...yes...the deepest drive for creativity. perfect
you're everywhere working hard (good uk read w/xeni and mark and you) and you still have time to inspire, thanks ze

Posted by: nancy pene at February 25, 2008 9:18 PM

Nicely phrased, but I'm not sure I agree. Art, as I see it, is something that exists because it really, really, should. Something the artist couldn't help but make after it had been dreamed up.

Posted by: jasper at February 25, 2008 10:48 PM

it is beautifully expressed.

Posted by: ingrid at February 26, 2008 2:02 AM

This is perhaps the biggest distinction between a professional and amateur artist. Or, perhaps I should merely say, experienced vs. inexperienced artist. My artwork in high school, for example, was fueled by strong and quick emotions, but before they had passed.

Perspective allows for great wisdom, and thus, great art.

Posted by: habile b at February 26, 2008 11:45 AM

This is perhaps the biggest distinction between a professional and amateur artist. Or, perhaps I should merely say, experienced vs. inexperienced artist. My artwork in high school, for example, was fueled by strong and quick emotions, but before they had passed.

Perspective allows for great wisdom, and thus, great art.

Posted by: habile b at February 26, 2008 12:44 PM

What a strange coincidence that you should remark on Erostratus who was famous for burning down a temple. I have only recently arrived in South Korea where, on my arrival I found that one of the landmarks that I intended to visit was only weeks ago burned down completely.

Though the motivations were different, it's still a little odd to me.

Posted by: RamsonAndSon at February 26, 2008 6:53 PM

Yes, I think you're right, this idea has breadth. An encouraging thought to keep while fighting the scourge of brain crack.

Posted by: Steven T Van Haren at February 27, 2008 3:24 PM

I think that's a great quote, and I'm surprised that more people haven't commented to say so. It certainly sets the bar very high for what constitutes art and what is simply output.

Posted by: Carrie at February 28, 2008 7:05 PM

Yes, yes and yes.
Thanks for that.

Posted by: Matan Rochlitz at February 28, 2008 8:34 PM

The same could be said of love, passion and infatuation. Art and love are inseparable for the greatest artists. Maybe that is why so many painters sleep with their models.

Posted by: Nika at March 5, 2008 1:07 PM

yea. and by reading the poetry (quite generic term, but probably the most adequate), you can get different reactions... it can hit you in the guts, it can make you think, kindly, or it makes you say oh yes, this is smart, and it sounds true... with no additional feelings... ever read Emil Cioran, an (almost) french guy, he has something to say on the subject as well, in some of his essays, and in a quite colorful way...:) ?

Posted by: melikescake at March 5, 2008 9:31 PM

hm. but isn't that only one sort? if we always wait til the emotion has passed, we can only access it intellectually, we can only create art of false emotions.

Posted by: ramona at March 11, 2008 8:00 AM

Lovely. The intellect "translates" "the blood of the spirit."

Posted by: kaninchen at March 11, 2008 1:10 PM

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