- Spectra (book)
"Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments" was a small volume of
poetrypublished in 1916 by American writers Witter Bynner, who wrote under the pseudonym"Emanuel Morgan", and Arthur Davison Ficke, who wrote as "Anne Knish."
"Spectra" was preceded by a brief
manifestooutlining the methods of "Spectrism" as a school:
*"In the first place, it speaks, to the mind of that process of diffraction by which are disarticulated the several colored and other rays of which light is composed. . . ."
*"In its second sense, the term Spectric relates to the reflex vibrations of physical sight, and suggests the luminous appearance which is seen after the exposure of the eye to intense light, and, by analogy, the after-colors of the poets initial vision."
*"In its third sense, Spectric connotes the overtones, adumbrations, or spectres which for the poet haunt all objects of both the seen and unseen world. . . "
With this vague program, the two poets adopted personas for their namesakes. The poems in the collection were not given titles, merely
opus numbers. "Emanuel Morgan" was a rhyming Whitman, full of bacchanalian, bardic blatherskite. From "Opus 6:"
:"If I were only dafter"::"I might be making hymns":"To the liquor of your laughter"::"And the lacquer of your limbs."
"Anne Knish" was the archetypal
poetess, full of oracular "ipse dixits", sensual, enigmatic, and vaguely scandalous. In 1916, most Americans were unfamiliar with Eastern European cooking and had never heard of knishes; the pseudonym was intended to be exotic and slightly oriental. Here is Knish's Opus 118:
:"If bathing were a virtue, not a lust":"I would be dirtiest."
:"To some, housecleaning is a holy rite.":"For myself, houses would be empty":"But for the golden motes dancing in sunbeams."
:"Tax-assessors frequently overlook valuables.":"Today they noted my jade.":"But my memory of you escaped them."
"Spectra" was meant to be the starting-point of a
hoaxof exposure, after the manner of the Taxil hoaxor, more recently, the Sokal Affair. Bynner and Ficke were old-school poets who had grown weary of the "isms" and free-form experiments such as Imagismthat had displaced more traditional varieties of poetic practice. They meant the "Spectra" poems to mock the pretensions of these several schools, and tried to make them bad. The plan seemed to work; a number of American writers, including Edgar Lee Mastersand William Carlos Williams, were entirely taken in by the hoax.
By now, several flaws in the plan are apparent. First, the poems are not all that bad, and some, like Morgan's above, contain some fairly good lines. Both Bynner and Ficke realized after they had written the "Spectra" poems that in attempting to produce deliberately outrageous poetry, they had let their mental guard down, and produced some of their most interesting work. Much of their later verse in a more serious vein was influenced by their own experiments in "Spectra".
From the perspective of the present, the world has endured much worse in the way of poetic experiments during the Age of Charlatans in the twentieth century. The "Spectra" poems are probably the most widely remembered work of either Bynner or Ficke.
* [http://ecclesiastes911.net/spectra.html "Spectra"] complete text
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Spectra — (plural of spectrum) are conditions or values that vary over a continuum.Spectra may also refer to:* Sally Spectra, a fictional character on The Bold and the Beautiful * Kia Spectra, a car developed by Kia Motors from 2000 present * Spectra… … Wikipedia
Doomsday Book (novel) — For the survey carried out in England in 1086, see Domesday Book. Doomsday Book … Wikipedia
Women of the Otherworld — is the name of a fantasy series by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong.The books feature werewolves, witches, necromancers, and vampires struggling to fit as normal in today s world. The series also includes novellas and short stories, published… … Wikipedia
Big Bad Beetleborgs — infobox Television show name = BeetleBorgs format = Action Adventure Comedy runtime = 25 minutes creator = Haim Saban ea. starring = Wesley Barker Shannon Chandler Brittany Konarzewski Herbie Baez Billy Forester Vivian Smallwood Joe Hackett Blake … Wikipedia
Supporting Banpresto original characters — This is a list of original characters created by Banpresto that serve in supporting roles to major protagonists or antagonists in the Super Robot Wars games. EarthlingsAdler KochAdler Koch is a fictional character in the Super Robot Wars series.… … Wikipedia
Characters of Monster High — The events of the franchise are set in a high school called Monster High where the whole student body and staff is made up of ghouls and monsters from popular monster fiction. Most of the main characters are children of the famous Universal… … Wikipedia
A Dance with Dragons — … Wikipedia
Nobel Prizes — ▪ 2009 Introduction Prize for Peace The 2008 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Martti Ahtisaari, former president (1994–2000) of Finland, for his work over more than 30 years in settling international disputes, many involving ethnic,… … Universalium
Atom — The atom is the smallest unit of an element that retains the chemical properties of that element. An atom has an electron cloud consisting of negatively charged electrons surrounding a dense nucleus. The nucleus contains positively charged… … Wikipedia
Vega — Starbox begin name=Vega Starbox image caption = Location of Vega in the constellation Lyra. Starbox observe epoch=J2000.0 constell=Lyra ra=RA|18|36|56.3364cite web author=Staff date=October 30, 2007 url=http://simbad.u strasbg.fr/simbad/sim… … Wikipedia