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Climbing Mount Rainier

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Along a log-clogged dry-rot trail
heavy-breath and feet I climb,
Stone-step streams, scramble scree
and faith thrust my legs across

chasms in the cliffs that dizzy
me so, I steady my head with my hand
as an eagle grips the crag with its claws.

Straggling and struggling I jungle
thru the green world toward the blue,
Not climbing to conquer but to lie
dreaming under peak-eating clouds
in a flower-filled rock-rimmed mountain meadow
Catching rare air and the distant view
of rivers and mountains without end,

seeing the forest in the trees.
We all have reasons for climbing.
I climb to see things whole.

Interpretive Strategies and the Meanings of Artworks: The Hermeneutical Situation

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With a case study of ethical constraints on conflicting interpretations of poems and metaphors

By Roger William Gilman

Consisting of the introduction to a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment

Of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago, 1985

Interpretive Strategies and the Mediation of Meaning: Dancing with Tears in My Eyes: The Hermeneutical Problem

I have been forced by what seems to be an unresolvable conflict of opinion among friends of mine to “turn” and examine, with deliberate thought and imagination, our shared goal of becoming serious students of new artworks.  Most of us in this group are painters or poets, composers or playwrights, actors or dancers.  Few are philosophers or critics.  Artworks have made us over into a self-conscious audience, … Continue Reading

Cento: the art and craft of quilting poems

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Roger William Gilman

It is Adam’s Curse that “a line may take us hours to quilt; and yet if it does not seem but a moment’s thought, our stitching and unstitching will have been for naught.” W.B. Yeats

The Raw and the Cooked: writing cento

Cento poems are like quilts. I quilt poems. “Cento,” you say. What’s that?”  Good question.  I hadn’t heard of cento myself until recently.  In answer to the question let me offer a metaphor and several examples to help refine a definition and build an explanation of why we all – poetry lover or not — should care about cento.  Then I’d like to draw out implications of this form of poetry — concerning the linguistics, psychology, politics, and ethics of reading and writing cento.

Cento poems are quilts made of salvaged scraps of cloth — words, phrases, lines — from other sources of writing, most of which are other poems.  Cento, however, refers more to the process of construction than to the source of building materials.  Think for example of the collating note-taking practice of Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project as a way of building a text … Continue Reading

Tuning Up Each Morning, by Roger Gilman

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Tuning Up Each Morning

(a cento)

“Awakening lies beyond the search for self. The self ungloved
Is like that slow turning out of sleep toward love.” – A.J. Hovde

The young writer tunes up.
With careful curiosity he bends
over the paper with his pen,
not with a conqueror’s arrogance
to command both sound and sense,
But as a man with loved guitar or woman
might inquire with humble hand
what subtle, vital things she had to say
before they started, he and she, to play.
R. W. Gilman