Monday, July 28, 2008

The Break-Out

Interesting extract from a conversation between architect, Hans Kollhoff, and filmmaker, Wim Wenders:

WW: All types of planning, by definition, are attempts to impose some kind of homogeneity, whereas for me a ‘city’ means the opposite of that. A city has to embrace contradictions, a city should be an explosive kind of a place.

HK: You have a similar problem in film, don’t you? A film, as I understand it, aspires to some kind of unity, but it also tends to want to burst at the seams.

WW: Yes, agreed. Just like every other kind of expression, a painting or poem or whatever. Everything aspires to that closed form, but excitement only happens when it breaks out, when something slips out of control. If everything is seamlessly whole, there’s no room to experience anything. That’s as true of films as anything else.

HK: Although perhaps unity is more easily achievable, so you need to be more wary of it…

Wenders is right to apply this specifically to poems.


BarbaraS said...

Terrific analogy. Thanks Rob.

Julie Carter said...

You know, maybe that's why so many poems currently being written in form bug the hell out of me. There's no tension between the form and content, no sense that there is anything in restraint. The content is so lifeless and safe that it just goes neatly into its little box.

I think this is a great point, Rob. That Wim. Smart cookie.

Rob said...

I'm with you all the way, Julie. Writing in form is a struggle against form. It's in those moments of tension and struggle that poems can break into life.

I think WW's point extends also to poems in free verse (although perhaps FV poems have even less excuse for being dull!). I'm thinking of FV poems which do just what you expect them to do and seem to aspire only to the easily won achievement. I think I might print Kolhoff's response above my computer desk:

"unity is more easily achievable, so you need to be more wary of it"

I often find it's only when poems break away from what I thought I was trying to say initially that they really come alive. It's the movement from a well crafted, but dull, unity to something more interesting that often seems to come from nowhere.

Liz said...

Yeah, great analogy...great wisdom. Love how it 'nearly' pins things down. cheers Rob.