Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Poet as Prophet

New York poet Eric Norris publishes an extended meditation on “Madame Blavatsky, Poetry, and Me: An Appreciation” on his blog When I was One and Twenty.

It is not easy to overestimate the influence of 19th Century Theosophist thinker Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky on the development of modern poetry; but it is always possible to try.

Helena Petrovna remains, if she remains in our minds at all, a mystery, a medium, a mystic—an enchanting metaphor, perhaps—the raisin in our rice pudding, if you will. Numerous numerologists have noted (with hysterical hand-rubbing) the mathematical symmetry of her name—the very recipe for collective wisdom as it is received around a workshop table.

How then, you may be inclined to ask, can we know Madame Blavatsky, if not from the Internet? How do we approach her? How do we embrace the sorrowful soul buried beneath her ample bosom, poetically speaking? Posthumously, of course, and with reverence, yes. But how do we distinguish her from the fraud in her photographs? From her books? From a trance? From France?

The rest of his ruminations on the subject can be read here.

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