Harrison Middleton University



We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


February 26, 2016

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Defining poetry is next to impossible, and I have been studying it for as long as I can remember. Its power thrills me. The fact that poetry escapes definition really seems appropriate to me. In an effort to wrangle with some of the ideas of poetry, I have composed a sort of poem out of fragments of my own words in combination with other authors who I greatly admire. It was meant as an exercise towards understanding, but grows immeasurably as the words are read and shared and re-read. Feel free to share your thoughts on poetry as well. And as always – enjoy!


1] A point is that which has no part/ 2] And a line is length without breadth/ 3] And the extremities of a line are points.(1)

Perihelion. Compare aphelion.

The still point of a turning world.(2)

Ethics. Land ethics. Something about voice above silence. But also about the location of silence.

An aesthetic of embodiment.(3)

How can I be? How can I be like? How can I be in? How can we be…one?

And the shadow became Fortino and I was/ the shadow following his shadow following/ my shadow become Fortino.(4)

The overflowing of a space, meaning there is a space and it does not contain enough. The frame contains a singularity. A shadow that dances only in a memory, which grays even as it writes.

The swift, thin-waisted fish.(5)

The moment, the singularity, resurges again and again. Each generation wears it differently. Sometimes the shortest path to the point is no path at all.

Hard on the land wears the strong sea…(6)

Chopin keys a nocturne above the calming sea. Sandy beach with slanting light. Twenty six words for sol/sun/luz/light…more if you include musical expressions. And I do.

A delight, half-graspable.(7)

A red dress dances through a doorway. The doorway trimmed in light of moon; roses white and red and bleeding.

Resembling sire and child and happy mother,/ Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing:/ Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,/ Sings this to thee: “Thou single will prove none.”(8)

A human record. Recorded emotion acts like twine, tying events and individuals in history directly to me.

Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,/ The maker’s rage to order words of the sea,/ Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,/ And of ourselves and of our origins,/ In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.(9)

We think it rapid, but in fact, the evolution of truth within ourselves is exceedingly slow.

(We are all, of course, the hosts of images.)(10)

Idea/ Breath/ Sound/ Struggle/ Survival/ Song.


(1) Euclid’s Elements, definition numbers 1-3.

(2) “Burnt Norton”, T.S. Eliot.

(3) “As You Crave Soul”, Frank Bidart.

(4) Fortino Sámano (The Overflowing of the Poem), Virginie Lalucq, Jean Luc Nancy, Translated by Sylvain Gallais and Cynthia Hogue.

(5) “At Black River”, Mary Oliver.

(6) John Berryman, song 1 from 77 Dream Songs.

(7)“Endymion”, John Keats.

(8) Sonnet VIII, William Shakespeare.

(9) “The Idea of Order at Key West”, Wallace Stevens.

(10) The Way Things Are, Book III, Lucretius.


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