Posted by: glue | May 18, 2008


2. Vortex

A blog is organized not by a hierarchical system (despite its use of categories), but in the manner of an image, in the sense of “vortex” Ezra Pound used to structure his Cantos.

“Pound reverses the process [of essentializing] by juxtaposing phenomena in order to reveal through their relations the invisible idea. From the relations of the seen arises the unseen form, ‘the forma, the immortal concetto, the concept, the dynamic form which is like the rose pattern driven into the dead iron-filings by the magnet itself, but separate from the magnet. Cut off by the layer of glass, the dust and filings rise and spring into order.’ The force of the magnet is akin to that force which orders sphere, great bass, monad, and right reason. . . . The important point is that the accumulated data will at one point cease to be just a ‘heap’ of detail. As in a flash, the whole subject or phenomenon will appear, in the form of an image, in the reader’s consciousness. What Pound avers here is that revelation is a process, the final state of a cumulative agglomeration of detail.”

Laszlo Gefin (1982), Ideogram: History of a Poetic Method, Austin: University of Texas: 38.

broken vortex

‘The Broken Vortex’: the back cover of Vortex Pamphlet No. 2


  1. Hey Greg,
    Whenever I think of Vortex I think of William Blake. I spent a good period of time working with Blake and I would always wonder what the vortex meant to him. So, I come across his definition while reading _Milton_ and, while you need to know something about Blake’s mythography to follow along with Milton’s decent to the vegetative world, you still can see that his definition is an image, middle-voiced and ambiguous, and not a definition at all.

    “The nature of Infinity is this: That every thing has its Own Vortex; and when once a traveller thro’ Eternity Has pass’d that Vortex, he perceives it roll backward behind His path, into a Globe itself enfolding, like a sun, Or like a moon, or like a universe of starry majesty, While he keeps onwards in his wondrous journey on the Earth,
    Or like a human form, a friend with whom he liv’d benevolent. As the eye of man views both the East and West, encompassing Its vortex, and the North and South with all their starry host, Also the rising sun and setting moon he views, surrounding
    His corn-fields and his valleys of five hundred acres square. Thus is the Earth one infinite plane, and not as apparent To the weak traveller confin’d beneath the moony shade. Thus is the Heaven a Vortex pass’d already, and the Earth A Vortex not yet pass’d by the traveller thro’ Eternity.”

    Blake would disagree with your commentator’s description of the nature of a vortex as a crystallizing image. We get no definition but that “everything has its vortex”, and it is in this where the connection is. Everywhere the traveler looks, he sees vortexes, he is never anywhere but in a space of inbetween.

    By the way, I put your picture of Mr. Mentality up on my blog.

    Robert Leston

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