Poetic Knowledge Chapter One

Poetic Knowledge, Chapter 1: The Validity of Poetic Knowledge

See previous post on the Introduction to this book for bibliographic info

Reading notes by Steve Elliott when he read the work in 2005-06

  • Notes in Normal Font are things that came to mind as I read the text, often thoughts or questions.
  • Notes in Bold are quotations I wish to use sometime.
  • Notes in italics are things from outside the actual text but that help explain how I understood the text or seemed to comment on the text.

Chapter 1

  • His use of Gradgrind from Hard Times was superb. See pages 6-7. Very useful material for teacher training.
  • By the twentieth century, the idea of objective reality – and man’s various responses to it – has been eclipsed, for the most part, by subjectivism and a less certain, more lonely and mechanistic model of the human being and the universe.
  • Poetic experience indicates an encounter with reality that is nonanalytical, something that is perceived as beautiful, awful (awefull), spontaneous, mysterious. It is true that poetic experience has that same surprise of metaphor found in poetry, but also found in common experience, when the mind, through the senses and emotions, sees in delight, or even in terror, the significance of what is really there.
  • His quote of Karl Stern, fr. Pp. 8-9: Simple self-observation shows that there exist two modes of knowing. One might be called “externalization,” in which the knowable is experience as ob-ject, a Gegen-stand, something which stands opposed to me; the other might be called “internalization,” a form of knowledge by sympathy, a “feeing with,” – a union with the knowable.”
  • Poetic experience and knowledge is essentially passive, and listening is above all the gateway, along with looking, to the poetic mode. It was this quote that got me to contemplating at some length the role of play in the process of learning. So much of the base of what a school builds on is what is produced mainly in the context of childhood play prior to the formal school experience.
  • Our process of teaching must not destroy but rather maintain the youthful delight in the skills of learning. The problem…with…the “drill and kill” method of language arts programs is not that they fail to give skills to decode words and write correct sentences but that they destroy the delight of learning in the process…
  • We lost this mode of wonder and delight sometime back when learning moved from being about being to being about production.
  • …poetic learning…the child is left alone, undistracted by methods and systems, so that the senses and emotions come naturally into play when beginning read to, where wonder and delight gradually lead the child’s imagination and memory toward the imitative act of reading … the same approach can be used for the child learning to write, that is, by first simply listening to stories. Poetic experience and knowledge is essentially passive, and listening is above all the gateway, along with looking, to the poetic mode.

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