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27 Apr


Pleasure-Pain Principle and the Relevance of Paradox in Poetry

It has often been observed that in the realm of poetry painful situations yield pleasure; pity and fear can transmute into a delightful and immensely enjoyable emotional state.  Poetry seems to enjoy this unusual ability to liberate emotional states from their bondage with our ego so that these emotional states, however tragic and disconcerting they may be, turn out to be pleasurable. These experiences thrive largely on a harmonization of opposites, a state in which contradictions are not only juxtaposed but also interpenetrated. Far from being a perplexing and exasperating experience, as can be the case with contradictions encountered in real life, this harmonization is felt as a blissful condition, one that yields inner peace and fulfillment. Likewise, there is an obvious connection between the language of poetry and contradiction. Poetry often seems to use a language that relies heavily on oxymora, paradoxes and contradictions. Phrases like “the brilliant darkness of a hidden silence”, “dazzling obscurity”, “whispering silence”, “teeming desert” or “undivided division and differentiated unity” are not uncommon in poetry. This verse compendium is an attempt at anthologizing this puzzling chemistry between poetry and paradox. The thrust of this collection is on bringing to the fore the contradictory and paradoxical nature of poetic language and experiences. It showcases thirty-three distinctive poems on the theme penned by contemporary poets from different parts of the world.
Manu Mangattu


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