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Aphorism Essay - 405 Words - StudyMode
An aphorism (from the Greek apo (from), and horos (boundary)) is a poignant and memorable observation that petitions the reader to accept a universal truth. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates — the same guy who gave us the Hippocratic Oath — gets billing for coining the term; and while aphorisms were initially used to catalogue medical maxims and science factoids, it wasn't long before philosophers and artists adopted the form to express moral principles or general observations about, you know, life.
A few years ago, through the graces of an independent press, I put out . That is, a collection of brief, disconnected, somewhat philosophical sentences. Looking back, this fact seems newly bizarre—aphorisms!—and I realize I’m still making sense of the experience. Novelists are right to talk of giving birth, and it’s standard for poets to exude vocation. In either case, publishing is known to offer release. But what of the aphorist? An occasional writer even if a full-time one, and a dweller in the obscure hinterland between poetry and prose: naturally their crossing into print might be a bit different.
Essays and Aphorisms (Penguin Classics) [Arthur Schopenhauer, R
There’s something primitive about the man and the woman, as if we’ve gone back in time, to witness the birth of bread, rope, fire, weapons, song and even love, if it’s possible to imagine such a thing as the invention of love. The man is a great inventor, his dirty secret being that he has stolen all of his inventions from a succession of younger men inventors. After each thievery, the man promptly dispatches each younger inventor with the aid of his handy new rope. The younger man invents; the woman falls in love with the younger man; the man steals inventions and kills the younger man: this cycle of creating, thieving and then killing off (metaphorically, of course) the previous inventor presumably never ends.
Married to the artist Richard Tuttle, Berssenbrugge frequently collaborates with artists like Kiki Smith; her volume of selected poems is titled (2006). Perhaps as a result, she is fundamentally concerned with perception; her elegantly discursive lines reveal an individual speaker’s experiences among the mundane realities of the world—walking through the woods, or looking at a house. The pendulum of her long phrasing often swings towards the aphoristic, only to swing outward again to the particular. From her meditation on manners and suicide, “Forms of Politeness”:
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However, other references, author’s, historians would refer an aphorism as a maxim, but most have concluded that maxims would be used more as a synonym (J.
Composing aphorisms is enjoyable. Really. On the one side, you have an opening for frankness, digressive reflection, and humor (only an unholy aphorist, I tend to think, never laughs at his own jokes). On the other, the constraints, and the thrill of finding exact solutions to them after so much mental wrangling. Not least important, writing aphorisms is a way to take enormous walks and work at the same time, with a notebook that fits in your jeans and the outdoors as your study.
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Aphorism: Happiness and Fun Essay - 529 Words | Majortests
Aphorisms in poems—rather than aphorisms as poems, say in the work of James Richardson, whose “Ten-Second Essays” include numbered fragments like “The reader lives faster than life, the writer lives slower”—can seem to lodge a pebble of meaning under the wobbly tower of stylized disruption that some critics have come to describe (not always dismissively) as the predominant architecture of contemporary American poetry: aphorisms, after all, , making universal statements in conventional syntax. Their meanings are generally grasped at first glance; their speakers are authoritative, and authoritatively stable. And yet lyric aphorism is not simply a tidy package of meaning, nor does it elude contemporary poetry’s penchant for complicating voice and individual experience. In fact, lyric aphorism fulfills multiple, sometimes competing, expectations about what a poem might do and who might be doing it. It offers perspective, even as it resists interpretation; by speaking with unexpected authority, it asks us to re-think our default assumptions about speaker, personae, and gender. Because of its form, it can seem to comment on the lyric landscape in which it is embedded, and it can overturn our expectations of that landscape. It straightens when we expect swerve. Aphorism is not a new development in poetry, but its current incarnation offers some useful ways to think about new poetry.
Oct 31, 2013 · Essay and aphorism
I should mention this here: just because something sounds good — just because a phrase carries seductive power — that doesn't mean it's correct. The best aphorists understand that the axiom has to be as wise as it is witty. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of the greatest thinkers of all time, famously said “the happy do not believe in miracles.” That sounds awfully good, I'm just not convinced it's true — and there are a lot of ignorant, ostensibly happy religious nuts out there to back up my assertion. Joseph Conrad once said "God is for men and religion is for women." Now, I loved Heart of Darkness and Nostromo, but that's just a dumb thing to say. In other words, just because the beats are there on the page, it doesn't make the statement any more prudent.
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As a tonal device, lyric aphorism helps Carson achieve a canny mix of universal specificity, in part allowing her to momentarily neutralize the gendered conventions of lyric even as she writes of female experiences. Embedded within a narrative, lyric aphorism helps lines like these—from “The Glass Essay”—circumvent both sententiousness and feminized sentimentality:
Aphorism essay - Pugwash, Nova Scotia
Contemporary poems don’t just use the trappings of aphoristic form; they also exploit its fragmented, accumulative logic. The kind of thinking that thinks about itself, that countermands and extends its own arguments, that suggests or invites further thought—the participatory thinking that aphorism demands—is also central to poems that deploy what I’ll call “lyric aphorism.” The poets I will look at, including Anne Carson, Mei-Mei Berssenbruge, Suzanne Buffam, Lyn Hejinian, Chelsey Minnis, Lisa Robertson, and Elizabeth Willis, among others, adapt and alter aphorism in recent poems, drawing on the model of logic that aphorism asserts, as well as adopting its forms. Not all of these poets use lyric aphorism in the same way or to the same effect. However, each uses both the language of aphorism and the thinking that language allows in individual poems, and—in the case of Chelsey Minnis, the final poet I’ll look at—across entire books.
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