Jeffrey Carduner, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
A new and big experience awaits you in this latest issue of TRO, titled “Can Incongruity Be Seen Beautifully? Yes.”
Do we use what doesn’t seem to make sense in life, the incongruous, to see the world as against us—to tell ourselves reality is something to have contempt for? Meanwhile, do art and poetry have a different message? Yes!
Among so very much that’s powerful and kind in this TRO is Eli Siegel’s exciting, remarkable, and utterly logical discussion of a Lewis Carroll poem. You’ll be delighted, you’ll be educated, reading “Can Incongruity Be Seen Beautifully? Yes,” the new issue of the Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
We have come to the third part of the lecture we’re serializing: Poetry Is Alphabetical, by Eli Siegel. This talk is a masterpiece of the casual and the definitive; it is a wonderful good time arising from grand scholarship. Here Mr. Siegel, the critic who has shown what poetry is, illustrates some of the constituents of poetry through choosing a word for every letter of the alphabet. And each of those terms has to do with our own lives too, and the nature of reality. Some words, he speaks of briefly; others, with more fullness. But always, there are depth, aliveness, rightness, and surprise.
In the present TRO, we are with letters G through I. And the main discussion is of the word Incongruity. So, in a prefatory way, I’ll say something about incongruity in relation to the Aesthetic Realism principle, true of poetry and us, “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”
Incongruity & a Person
Incongruity is the non-fittingness of things—their not going together. And people have much pain about it. A child, age seven—we can call him Finn—came to feel pretty early that the way his parents fought with each other, yelled and used mean words to each other, didn’t go with how at other times they could act (as he put it to himself) “lovey-dovey.” Finn didn’t use the word incongruity, but it’s what he felt, and it mixed him up terribly.
He also felt incongruous to himself: he felt he was a different Finn laughing with his friends from the Finn who could feel, in his bed at night, that he was far away from everyone—far away sometimes frighteningly and sometimes triumphantly. He felt too that the “bad thoughts” he had at night—about monsters coming after him, and about his wanting to hit his little cousin Arlo—would never be understood by himself or “anybody ever!” Those thoughts seemed so different from—incongruous with—what he felt when he looked through the microscope his grandfather gave him (for an interest in science was already alive in him)….Read more