Jeffrey Carduner, Aesthetic Realism consultant, writes:
Do we need to see what poetry is in order to understand how we want to be in our lives? “Poetry’s Opposites–& Ours” says Yes! There is the latest installment of Eli Siegel’s powerful lecture A Statement about Poetry: Some Instances. And there’s a description of a modern woman’s confusion about life, love, family, work: how is the structure of a good poem a guide for her true seeing of these? There is a wonderful new translation by TRO’s editor, Ellen Reiss, of a poem by Sappho—whose thought and feeling are alive in moving, musical lines. And there is more in “Poetry’s Opposites–& Ours,” this current issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known.
The commentary by Ellen Reiss begins:
Dear Unknown Friends:
Here is part 2 of the lecture by Eli Siegel that we are serializing: A Statement about Poetry: Some Instances. He gave this talk in August 1970, and it is about that magnificent thing—that vitally needed thing—the Aesthetic Realism explanation of poetry. Authentic poetry, Mr. Siegel explained, no matter when or where it came to be, “is the oneness of the permanent opposites in reality as seen by an individual.”
In the present talk, he quotes statements, some famous, made in the history of literary criticism. Mr. Siegel is showing that when, over the centuries, a critic with knowledge and honesty has tried to say what real poetry is, there is often a pointing in some fashion to opposites as one. He himself is the writer who has made clear this previously unrecognized agreement among critics ever so different from each other across thousands of years.
Yet as I described in our last issue: what Eli Siegel saw about the opposites, while in keeping with what others said, goes far beyond them. The philosophy he founded, which is about every aspect of reality—from economics, to love, to history, to science, to people’s woes—is based on the principle that “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”…Read more