Discussion on “Hare in a Glacial Sequence”

“Hare in a Glacial Sequence” is one of a grouping of five poems, “Incidental Field Notes in a Journal”, that deals with the process of mapping, anchoring and exploring an event in its topography. The basic image is one of a brown furry, dynamic object with long hind feet and ears – the hare. The context is the observed event in space and time, located in the surrounding physical scenery and history, both past and future. This is attempted by allusion as much as description of the surrounding space-time, by placing the hare in a particular glacial landscape giving it a geographical location but also a sense of temporal depth. Allusion can be efficient, because the power of allusion to place an image in a shared location, not necessarily physical, maybe in the imagination, and with differing interpretations is strong. Care is needed as allusion can also make for “difficult” poetry.

This is part of the process of exploration in poetry – wandering into alternative temporal or spacial histories or “multiverses”, some of which may be prohibited to the observer, and the use of metaphor and value judgments to do this. To talk about a hare “jiving” gives a human value to a non-human being, although it makes sense in some ways in bridging the divide between subject matter and audience – few poems are read to hares, the majority are read to humans.

More generally, the poems in the whole sequence are an examination of singular “reality” in a range of “realities”. These instances of “reality” represent the world each individual tends to be reflexive with, a world which is one that seems to be based on something “out there” (which may or may not be real) interpreted in some respect by a cognitive system. Because of the notion of entanglement, the perception of, and method of perception of the “out there stuff” affects the “out there stuff” and this feeds back to the perception itself. “Horse in Winter” and “The Eel” are the most direct examinations of these notions.

The poet does not necessarily have a responsibility to reflect their own perception of “reality”, but does has a duty to encourage the audience to examine new views on the nature of their perception of “reality”. Perhaps there are even multiple instances of the same reality – if that makes any sense – as viewed by multiple observers. The audience feeds back to the poet in one way or another , even rejection is an effecting event, and even no feedback at all will affect the trajectory of the work. Feedback forces joint responsibility on the poet and the audience, and the poet is, in part, responsible for the history of the audience from the point at which they are affected (or not) by the work presented, and they are, in a subtle way, responsible for the poet’s writing.

In writing, the work of a poet acts on the poet, and may change the poet or the poet’s point of view as a result, making poetry reflexive and reflective. “Hare in a Glacial Sequence” uses a single instance in time to reflect on geological processes that have moulded the scenery, an allegory of how our histories affect our selves. “Dunes” and “Pike” examine the notions of differing points of view.

“Incidental Field Notes in a Journal” is published in the Fall 2013 edition of the San Pedro River Review. These notes are taken from an online discussion prompted by one of the editors of the SPRR.

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