Poetry and the Arts

The HipBone Games are -- if truth be known -- an extension of work I have been doing for years in the areas of poetry and mythologic.

The pieces collected in this section of the HipBone pages discuss poetry and the other arts -- but Hesse's Glass Bead Game and my own HipBone Games are always hovering in the distance...

The walk among woods and words suggests -- pleasantly enough, though the thought itself is hardly original -- that poetry has as much to do with the love of language as it does with its personal or archetypal themes: that it is, in the terms of this piece, as much a matter of a "walk through words" as of a "walk through woods".

In That HyperText is Linear, I talk about two ways in which we read a given text. We tend to read things "from beginning to end": "diachronic" reading is the way literary critics describe this most obvious of things... But there's a special impact that only arises when we reach the end, and which takes the form of another kind of reading, outside time so to speak, and perhaps even quite unconscious, in which all the parts of what we have read come together in the mind at once: this is much less obvious, and literary critics call it the "synchronic" reading. Thinking about diachronic and synchronic readings can give us a clue as to what makes for a powerful piece of writing -- or a truly non-linear Game.

Similarly, in Tight Form and Aesthetic Impact, I discuss the impact of formal structure on good writing -- and good Game design. In my view, these Games can be viewed as a sort of proving ground for theories about the arts. I bring a poet's sensibilities to the Games I devise, and for instance believe that the arts are constituted by the marriage of passion with tight structure... As I wrote a little tongue-in-cheek recently:

Great splash alone is all wet. Tight focus alone is a trickle. But great splash passing through tight focus can send water arcing through the air to great heights, to land at a great distance...

I believe that's what poetry is all about -- and if I'm right, then the "tight form" of these Games will work like the "tight form" of the sonnet, focusing the passion of the various moves into a presentation which touches both heart and mind with real beauty. I address this question of real beauty from a poet's perspective in Hopkins and the Seraph.

In the words of a Tibetan Geshe... talks about the science of poetry from a perspective based in Hindu poetics, and introduces such perhaps unfamiliar concepts as rasa, yugen, and duende...

Turning to matters mythological...

Do we need a new myth and if so, how? is a piece about Joseph Campbell's idea that we need a myth for our times, and what it might take to come up with one...

In A Spear Dipped in Poppy Juice, I compare Lugh's Spear from Irish mythology, which had to be kept sedated in poppy juice between battles, and Sir Kenelm Digby's Powder of Sympathy, which had the curious property of healing wounds when applied to the weapon which had caused them.

In Vision Quest and Vision, I talk about the synchronous arrival of a United Airlines flight and an eagle at Medford Airport in Oregon...

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HipBone Games rules, boards, sample games and other materials are copyright (c) Charles Cameron 1995, 96. See Concerning Copyright for full copyright details.