Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Physiognomy of Poetry

In Phenomenology of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty emphasizes the bodily nature of our language, ultimately claiming, "Words have a physiognomy." I was reminded of this when I read Ian McGilchrist's recent reflection, "Four Walls," in the July/August 2010 issue of Poetry:

Poetry engraves itself in the brain: it doesn’t just slip smoothly over the cortex as language normally does. It has all the graininess of life, as it rips into being from deep within the limbic system, the ancient seat of awareness and affective meaning.