a rose is a rose is a rose
In ‘Explaining a rose is a rose is a rose’, Gertrude Stein commends a poetics of silence in that she demands an absence of ‘worn out literary words’. (54) She writes about how the poet must ‘work in the excitingness of pure being; he has to get back that intensity into the language’. Ironically, in ‘hundreds of poems about roses [...] you know in your bones that the rose is not there’ yet in ‘a rose is a rose is a rose’, Stein claims that ‘the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years’. (54 – 55) An absence of description becomes a presence.
Stein is sometimes accused of being obscure and nonsensical. Even her editor, AJ Fifield found her experimental style challenging. When rejecting one of her submissions, he wrote:
I am only one, only one, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your manuscript three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.
However, you might like to examine the quotations below. What meanings can you discover in them? How large is the space for interpretation? How do you feel about the use of vocabulary and subversion of grammatical rules?
A silence is no more than occasional. It respects understanding and salt and even a rope. (‘France’)
Silence which makes silence gives that sense to all there is, silence which has light and water and vision and appetite and result and a motion and more exaggeration and no recklessness, silence which is there is not disturbed by expression. (‘France’)
What comes out of silence. What comes out of silence is that which having usefulness, that nature and fashion is not shown to be managed by the combination. (‘France’)
Surely silence is sustained and the change is sudden.(‘England’)
Silence is so windowful. (What Happened)
by Mina Loy
of the laboratory
congealed to phrases
a radium of the word.
by Gertrude Stein
A charm a single charm is doubtful. If the red is rose and there is a gate surrounding it, if inside is let in and there places change then certainly something is upright. It is earnest.