Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 12/3

If you were substitute “film” for “poem,” “filmmaking collective” for “poet,” “cinematic” for “poetic” and “images” for “words” when reading the passage below, you’d basically have a slightly long-winded yet gorgeously stated articulation of my personal aesthetics. Kudos to Paul Valéry for saying what I’ve had so much difficulty saying myself. (This is another excerpt from Valéry’s essay “Poetry and Abstract Thought.” Super highly recommended.)

A poem is really a kind of machine for producing the poetic state of mind by means of words. The effect of this machine is uncertain, for nothing is certain about action on other minds. But whatever may be the result, in its uncertainty, the construction of the machine demands the solution of many problems. If the term machine shocks you, if my mechanical comparison seems crude, please notice that while the composition of even a very short poem may absorb years, the action of the poem on the reader will take only a few minutes. In a few minutes the reader will receive his shock from discoveries, connections, glimmers of expression that have been accumulated during months of research, waiting, patience, and impatience. He may attribute much more to inspiration than it can give. He will imagine the kind of person it would take to create, without pause, hesitation, or revision, this powerful and perfect work which transports him into a world where things and people, passions and thoughts, sonorities and meanings proceed from the same energy, are transformed one into another, and correspond according to exceptional laws of harmony, for it can only be an exceptional form of stimulus that simultaneously produces the exaltation of our sensibility, our intellect, our memory, and our powers of verbal action, so rarely granted to us in the ordinary course of life.


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