“As I Lay Dying” is very much concerned with the problem posed by “words”. This issue show up at different levels. The most obvious one is the contrast between the factual reality characters experience and the ways they react to it. The gap between the external world and the one expressed by the interior monologues is huge and its expressed not only in what they think about and what they actually say; but also in the way they express it. Faulkner has no problem in granting the interior voices a verbal capacity–a vocabulary–way higher from what should be expected from white trash. He seems to be ready to give up realism rules in order to express that the inner world of those people is a serious reality. Continue reading
O Trees of Life, when is your winter?
That’s the way Rilke chose to open the fourth of the Duino Elegies. I guess if you are able to write a verse like that one, you have already accomplished more than all the myriads of the pseudo-poets going around there…That includes me, of course!
Now, I think it is always interesting is to try to discover the reasons why this verse is great. The answer might lie precisely in the fact that the verse is great in English, in the original German or in whatever language you may translate it to. Its power lies not in rhyme or any other musical quality, but rather in the meaning of the words and the relation between the images those words convey.