Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Sweet Sixteen: Part Three

As I noted at the end of my previous entry, as soon as I was done writing on about Will Clark and the Giants' victory over the Cubs, I began to question my word choice. These notes are also from 10/9/89, then:
"CLUTCH" -- I told Beau about the hand imagery in the Bible -- God's hand metonymically represents his whole being and power. Hand represents control: "Things got out of hand." By extension, "I'm losing my grip." And "clutch" must be of the same metaphorical etymology.

Think of Rilke's "soft" hand poem.

Inversion of sign is a powerful tool in poetry

Write a poem in which hand is soft and not harsh like in Old Testament

Beau talked a long time about the beauty of Taos in the Bear's Lair -- D.H. Lawrence

Picture Will Clark in my own "clutch" situations

Another from the "hand" metaphorical etymology: yielding, succumbing is "letting go" i.e. releasing one's grip or clutch

See Lakoff + Turner's books on metaphor
While I'm pretty sure I had less control of my thinking than these notes might suggest, it's obvious that I was trying to rethink the idea of "coming through in the clutch" by questioning the image's connotations. I wasn't ready to take the stathead approach -- I'm still not -- but at least perceived that there was something amiss in the way people talk about pressure situations. The way to handle pressure is to relax, not tense up. That's the message of the poem I ended up writing.

There's one more entry in my notebook from 10/9/89, a passage from Corrado Pallenberg's The Art of Seduction -- more on that book later -- that I annotated, and then a long gap. Here's how it resumes on 11/9/89:
One month and a major (7.0) earthquake later. . . even if Will Clark did so-so in a very one-sided A's victory in the World Series, I can still hold onto that one at-bat. At least I got a poem out of it.
Indeed. And that poem played a major role in getting me into Thom Gunn's poetry seminar the following semester. More importantly, the approach I took in developing the poem, reflecting on the way metaphors condition our experience of everyday life and subjecting them to detailed scrutiny, has become a cornerstone of both my teaching and my writing.

[This is the first of three interconnected entries. Go here for the first one and here for the second one.]

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