The Semblance is an essay by Charles Bernstein, which is primary an argument for a tendency in poetry known as language writing. Bernstein tries to portray the concept of diminished reference. This questions language claim as the ultimate medium of representation. He postulates how language in poetry has taken a step away from denotative basis to connotative basis. Language is presented as being virtual, as can be seen through multiple referential vectors.
He notes that language has diverged from a customary discourse where the comprehension of words should be beyond the literal meaning. This sets ground for political agency in a community. Language should be seen as not accompanying the world. It should in the contrary be seen as constituting the world we live in. It therefore tries to link both the past, the present and the future.
In this language writing, it should be noted that words in combination alter the meaning of the words if they were used singularly. This style gives words and their meanings three-dimensional perceptions. This creates a perceptual dimension which is in contrast with the denotative one on one relation words and their meanings share. The key theme in Bernstein’s essay is the role of the community. This is whether the community should be established literally or politically or rather be transitioned into a utopian community. Utopian community is a vessel through which people can advocate for change. It helps shape people’s thought process beyond the conventional ways.
Synesthesia in poetry
The key style running through Bernstein’s essay is synesthesia. This is whereby words are used figuratively rather than literally. He advocates for the use of language to provoke the reflectiveness of the words way beyond the surface meaning. This is whereby careful attention is paid to syllogistic integration of the word.
The essay by Uche Nduta, known as So Even While is a depiction by the author of how to be a poet in a capitalistic society like United States of America is a rebellious act. This is because a poet goes against the conventional way of doing things. For instance, he quips that when it comes to manifestos, he changes the subject. He notes for instance that for a poet, enmity and friendships are created in equal proportions. This is because poetry should elicit public debate about issues, dividing the community down the middle.
However, he says that poems yearn for the imaginative involvement of its readers. That poems are supposed to transform individuals into liberal thinkers. To go against standardized way of thinking, which essentially means the society’s set code of conduct and carve a path of our own set of values with little influence from the society.
Being a decent of Africa, Uche says that sometimes he goes beyond the parameters of Euro-American depiction of poetry. He has his own terms of engagement as long as he knows what message he wants to pass through his works. He appreciates that poetry has changed and that the otherism movement has begun. This is the movement that tries to advocate for independent way of thinking.
Thematically, both poems’ primary goals are the community. Uche tries to advocate that the community tries to change the conventional way of doing things by becoming liberal thinkers in society that tries so much to control how we think. Bernstein on the other hand invokes a spirit of change in how the community thinks all in a view to provoking change by questioning present ways of thinking.
Figurative language of synesthesia has also been employed by the two poets. Uche urges readers to be emotionally present when reading a poem, this requires coherency beyond the literal meaning of sentences. Comparatively, Bernstein advocates for a shift from denotative to connotative ways of writing poems. His is a multidimensional way of thinking.
Both poems are set on the present tense. The poets are trying to shade the picture of how things operate in the present time period and agitate that people change their ways of thinking away from the contemporary ways.
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