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Love the Questions: Poetic Measure & The Unknown

Rilke’s advice to love the questions is our starting point. Poetic measure and its relation to the Unknown is the main focus. Heidegger’s reading of Hölderlin helps us to understand what it is that poetry measures.

This episode continues a discussion of Heidegger’s essay “Poetically Man Dwells” that I have addressed in several preceding podcasts. Most recently I discussed this in Poetic Measure and the Sacred: Raine, Heidegger, Sherrard (Episode 028).

I Love the Questions

We begin by reflecting on Rilke’s advice to a young poet. This advice includes the call to ‘love the questions.’ It also calls for one to ‘live the questions.’ Questions, rather than answers, provide us with the open disposition to see things poetically. I relate this to my disregard for ideology and systems of thought. Furthermore, I relate this disposition to charity (or love as spoken of in Corinthians).

II Poetic Measure & The Unknown

Here I explore Heidegger’s thoughts on the measure of poetry and its relation to the Unknown via Hölderlin.

Recall the notion of dwelling and its relationship to the Fourfold that we talked about from “Building, Dwelling, Thinking.” (See, for instance: Dwelling and Poetry: Rilke, Hölderlin, Heidegger (Episode 024).) With respect to that Fourfold, we can then understand poetry as measure-taking as follows. It articulates and shows the way for us to build a world in which we then dwell.

But here there is something important to state in terms of the ‘ground’ provided by poetry. For it is not the ‘ground’ provided by logical, abstract thinking, which rests on the correspondence of internal ideas to an external world. It is a ground that is revealed in the measure-taking, by which we are not given over to what we can then ‘know’ but instead made aware of that which is unknown. And of that unknown as unknown.

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