Currently Reading: Eshleman’s “Companion Spider Essays” (Ch. 2)


“Currently Reading” is a blog series hosted by GirlSense & NonSense that shares tidbits of an inspiring book. We read, we think, and we write it all down here, for you. You can read the first post of the Clayton Eshleman installment here.

She is the “vain shadow of hope” which finds everything short of a complete apocalypse hopeless. She is the part of our minds which dimly realizes that all pleasure is at least party a dream under an anesthetic. Something is always suffering horribly somewhere, and we can only find pleasure by ignoring that fact. We must ignore it to a point, or go mad; but in the abyss of consciousness, to which Enion has been banished, there lurks the felling that joy is based on exclusion, that the Yule log can blaze cheerfully only when the freezing beggars in the streets are, for the moment, left to freeze.

-From Northrop Frye on Enion, a character in Blake’s The Four Zoas

Clayton Eshleman quotes the passage above in his book, Companion Spider Essays, to tell us that happiness (and the perfect rhythm and flow and breath of a poem) is possible when you overlook the dark and the dreary (and the truth) of what’s inside of yourself and the world. In your home, the Yule log “can blaze cheerfully” while beggars freeze in the streets.

The desire to write poetry leads first to seeing the vilifigura, the reviled face, the shame of your own face.

-Eshleman (8)

Eshleman begs for writers to confront our souls and all of it, every single thing “you want to overlook, the awkward, the ugly, thoughts that make you feel ashamed.” He calls on writers to confront what we innately resist, to write alongside the rhythms and currents of our shame. We must seize it and as Olson explains, “It has to be something our mind, really on our mind, at the heart of us – where it hurts.”

 Symmetry implies perfection and is a lie as long as the world body is broken, tortured, in separation, and utterly (now) imperiled”

-Eshleman (10)

Writers must feel with their hands and submerge in the muck of their bodies and the “world body”. we must confront what our soul, what our conscience resists the most.

So let’s get dirty.

Yours,
Pamela
Co-Editor
GirlSense & NonSense Magazine

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