Mowa przejęta nicością: retoryczne postawy wobec Nietzscheańskiego żywiołu nicości w poetyce Wallace’a Stevensa i Jarosława Marka Rymkiewicza
Speech Taken with Nothingness: Rhetorical Stances Toward the Nietzschean Element of Nothingness in the Poetics of Wallace Stevens and Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
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This essay compares the poetic philosophies of Wallace Stevens and Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz, Stevens’s first Polish translator. In the first part, I trace a deep affinity in the way both poets engage with the Nietzschean-Dionysiac element in language. The Nietzschean dynamism creates a rich conceptual background against which it is possible to understand the process of poetic language merging with nothingness. Both Stevens’s and Rymkiewicz’s early poems are reactions to such conceptual environment: Stevens’s Harmonium and Rymkiewicz’s Co to jest drozd present a way of engaging with nothingness in which the absence of logos becomes a source of the poems’ figurative power. As they attain this power, the poems arrive at a form of self-consciousness. I trace this affinity through the deconstructive figure of catachresis, as it has been applied to Stevens by his deconstructive critic J. Hillis Miller. In the second part, I change the method. Here, I show how the later poetries of Stevens and Rymkiewicz can be approached by replacing Miller’s deconstructive catachresis, with Harold Bloom’s metalepsis. This Bloomian reading allows me to identify a vital difference between the later phases in the two poets. Discussing Stevens’s “Auroras of Autumn” next to Rymkiewicz’s Do widzenia Gawrony, I show how Rymkiewicz diverts sharply from his American Romantic/Modernist counterpart in the way his poetry reads Nietzsche’s trope of the eternal recurrence of the same. For Stevens, this concept is realized in the form of metalepsis, which, as Bloom shows, is a figure allowing the poem to retain its figurative capability while steering its course away from any notion of essence or necessity. In contrast, for Rymkiewicz, the eternal recurrence of the same paves way to an essentialist understanding, and affirmation, of human history as eternal cycle of creation-destruction, a cycle presided over by a mixture of pain, cruelty, and ecstasy. Consequently, I argue that while Stevens’s late poetry remains faithful to figurativeness as the poem’s self-reliance – that is, the poem’s refusal to join forces with any sort of concept or process conceived of as independent from the poem’s re-descriptive capability – Rymkiewicz’s late poems find their visionary power in precisely such joining of forces.
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