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August 13, 2021  

Poetism Part 7: Can you describe it all? Scott Stevens on the Cocteau Twins & Brigit Pegeen Kelly

August 13, 2021

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If the particular cannot be repeated, it remains forever lost; and this is why there can be no final closure to mourning. There can only be, alongside of mourning,​ learning to love new particulars ––Louise Fradenburg

 

In this week’s installment of “Poetism,” we’d like to ask about how words, poems, songs, and other kinds of art objects help bring life to a world. And by world, we mean a perspective, something experienced and understood in the innermost part of our being. Whether faced by inner solitude or loss, words attempt to communicate a state of affairs. But do they have to? Is there a way of placing listeners and readers directly into an experience without only describing it? Are there more direct ways of touching or “worlding” or elegizing? Or, in the words of this week’s poet, a moment: “Stands, the way a status / does in the mind.​​

 

Perhaps! And it is in this great abyss of a perhaps that this episode takes off. Our working theory is that the sonic qualities of words, and of language in general, can help transmit moods and sensations without the need for specific meanings. To ask such questions, Josh is joined by his college roommate Scott Stevens, a recent English graduate of Stanford University (and incoming Fulbright Scholar) who also speaks in Japanese and French. And, in the course of their dialogue, Scott they are assisted by the Cocteau Twins’ 1984 track “Amelia” off of Treasure as well as Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Field Song” from the collection Song (1995).

 

Over the course of their conversation, Scott and Josh touch upon the uniqueness of sound as a medium of communication, their difficulties of listening to the lyrics of a song, and poetry’s collective oral tradition.

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For more Poetism, stay tuned for next week’s two-part series finale on Rachel McKibbins, blackface, and FKA twigs.