Radical Contingency

 
 Atalaya Trail, Santa Fe, 2018

Atalaya Trail, Santa Fe, 2018

 


Dear Friends,

The word 'celebrate' implies assembly and comes from the Latin celebrare, "to publish; sing praises of; practice often." This could be the crux of poetry: The coming together that constitutes an awareness of interiority and exteriority, and that initiates an appreciation of the balance between part and whole. How might celebration admit of suffering and grief without indulging the divisions they imply? How might we move from radical contingency to radical embrace?

Indigo and I have been thinking about the necessary quietude of poetry — its matter-of-fact aliveness, the silence back of its music — and about how to promote not only the ostensible results of contemplation but the radiant fullness (re: kairos) of the underlying process, all that effortlessness which marks receptivity and suggests real communicative power. There is something strange and complicated (and maybe even ironic) about this: The Lune, as en emblem of "public making," intends to emphasize that which is decidedly unemphatic: Not poetry as poem or project, but that which gives rise to meaning and animates poet and reader as equal yet individual parts of society.

(What are the contours of society, and where? How can one know the fullness and purpose of the greater body of which one is a part? How can one feel what the greater body touches?)

We see that publishing (as utterance) implies boundaries: This belongs in the book/world, this does not, and so on and so forth. These boundaries — like joints, lips, skin — are unequivocal and imperative; without them, language (let alone the creatures who channel it) would not exist. But when publishing is thought of in positive terms only, with concrete details pretending ultimate importance, it risks perpetuating that which it purports to remedy: loneliness, desperation, and violence. (This seems related to the phenomenon of "identity politics," but I am not entirely up to the challenge of exploring the parallels.)

We are tasked with finding value in not only what can be seen, but what simply is. The good host must be completely at home, whether in the presence of her guests or not. Perhaps words are the poem's guests. Whose guests are we, as people? For Indigo and I, the guest-as-traveler is quite a relatable figure, as we have relocated a number of times in the past few years. And remarkably, throughout all the apparent changes — despite fears and forgetfulness and faux pas — community endures. It never looks the quite the same, which can be disorienting (and occasionally alarming), but it endures, by the grace of correspondence (and its inherent gaps).

(Maybe faith is a kind of welcome gap. A gap forgiven. Necessary emptiness. Radical contingency.)

Sometimes, the internet aids in recognizing and maintaining community, in helping us welcome each other as guests into the myriad homes of ourselves; sometimes, it seems to do the opposite. Given as much — and given the sheer busy-ness of this contemporary life — Indigo and I are trying harder than ever to keep in touch with our initial cry of "poetry as correspondence," to celebrate the fact that, in David Mutschlecner's words, "being grows from a ground of ceaseless interconnectedness, and this interconnectedness is logos itself, dreaming its own root and bloom."

To this end, we have slowly begun to share news of a contemplative poetics extending beyond The Lune proper. Right now, the bulletins are brief gestures, but we would love to share in-depth reviews at some point. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on this front (or any other).

Yours in the furrows and folds,

Joseph Braun

EpistolaryJoseph Braun