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ambiguity--> dialectic?

ambiguity--> dialectic?

Anne Dalke's picture

I'm delighted to see you using Joanna Macy's translation of Rilke....I have excerpts from her book, World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal, on board as our final reading of the semester, and am curious to see how you all will take her up her orientation, which combines environmental activism, Buddhist scholarship, general systems theory, and deep ecology.

I'm also quite struck by your notion that prose declares ""Here's what this is," while poetry asks, ""What do you think?" Prose makes a statement, poetry asks a question; the first shuts off conversation, while the second invites a response. I actually don't think these two contrary gestures are genre-specific, but I do appreciate the contrast. As postulated by a colleague of mine, Paul Grobstein, who was a neurobiologist,

Ordinary language is  "designed" (by biological and cultural evolution) to perform a sophisticated, bidirectional communication function. A story is told by the sender not to simply transmit the story but also, and equally importantly, to elicit information from/about the receiver, to find out what is otherwise unknowable by the sender: what ideas/thoughts/perspectives the receiver has about the general subject of the story. An unambiguous transmission/story calls for nothing from the receiver other than what the transmitter already knows; an ambiguous transmission/story links teller/transmitter and audience/receiver in a conversation (and, ideally, in a dialectic from which new things emerge).

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This morning, as reached the last page of Claudia Rankine's Don't Let me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, I was startled to find an observation that could be a commentary on this thread: