Monday, June 19, 2006

The desire for a sense of "completeness"

My own comments about Christie's first book are still rambling around in my head, as is my question about what it is that I desire in a book, as opposed to work one encounters in other ways. What is this "completeness" that I'm after and is it purely subjective. Someone once told me that my first book was so polished it made him nauseous...(yes, we're still talking...). Certainly I don't mean "complete" in that sense, and nor do I necessarily agree with his assessment, though I do agree that some of the highly polished poetry one encounters in the world is in fact nauseating. I would also agree with Ryan Fitzpatrick's post, and favour work that is messy, that is "in process" to be sure--and further, I agree that the books I keep coming back to are those that are gloriously unfinished in the sense that they invite me in, that they allow me to engage in a variety of ways, and are instructive. But what I was suggesting is that the movement to a book is another step isn't it? Not one that to my mind, is always or necessarily the next step. What I'm asking here is at one point does one move from the sketch to the canvas?
Looking at the work of Eva Hesse at the Jewish Museum yesterday I was struck by this sense of both completeness and unfinishedness (I know that isn't a word...). Timing. A sense of when it's done. When to open the studio door...and when to keep it closed.
I have no idea when this is, or whether it is even fair to discuss it in terms of another's work. Nor am I sure what the perameters of discussion should be, or even if there should be any at all. One thing I know is when I sense the proportions, or timing, or whatever or however you want to describe it, are right, the work is immensely pleasing. The further apart the project can be pulled, the more the innards are revealed (a la Moure, Hesse, Robertson), and the more the work still seems to have this sense of proportion and timing, the more pleasurable the text. At least for this reader at this particular point in time.

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