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Based on the metaphysical implications of the Dadaist dogma.... Arp's Reliefs [carvings] between 1916 and 1922 are among the most convincing illustrations of that anti- rationalistic era... Arp showed the importance of a smile to combat the sophistic theories of the moment. His poems of the same period stripped the word of its rational connotation to attain the most unexpected meaning through alliteration or plain nonsense.
It's all about time, dimwit time, inferior time, people checking watches and other devices, other reminders. This is time draining out of our lives. Cities were built to measure time, to remove time from nature. There's an endless counting down, he said. When you strip away surfaces, when you see into it, what's left is terror. This is the thing that literature was meant to cure. The epic poem, the bedtime story.
When a man makes a poem, makes it, mind you, he takes words as he finds them interrelated about him and composes them — without distortion which would mar their exact significances — into an intense expression of his perceptions and ardors that they may constitute a revelation in the speech that he uses. It isn't what he says that counts as a work of art, it's what he makes, with such intensity of perception that it lives with an intrinsic movement of its own to verify its authenticity.
The wonderful poems interpreting with equal magic the romance of strange lands and times, or the modern soul, naked and unashamed, as if clothed in its own complexity; the humorous-tragic questionings of the universe; the delicious travel-pictures and fantasies; the lucid criticisms of art, and politics, and philosophy, informed with malicious wisdom, shimmering with poetry and wit.
Ryokan, who shook off the modern vulgarity of his day, who was immersed in the elegance of earlier centuries, and whose poetry and calligraphy are much admired in Japan today — he lived in the spirit of these poems, a wanderer down country paths, a grass hut for shelter, rags for clothes, farmers to talk to. The profundity of religion and literature was not, for him, in the abstruse. He rather pursued literature and belief in the benign spirit summarized in the Buddhist phrase "a smiling face and gentle words". In his last poem he offered nothing as a legacy. He but hoped that after his death nature would remain beautiful. That could be his bequest.
My theory is that poems are written because of a state of emotional irritation. It may be present for some time before the poet is conscious of what is tormenting him. The emotional irritation springs, probably, from subconscious combinations of partly forgotten thoughts and feelings. Coming together, like electrical currents in a thunder storm, they produce a poem.... the poem is written to free the poet from an emotional burden.