A review of
A Fiddle Pulled from the Throat of a Sparrow
by Noah Eli Gordon
It’s not true (despite Walter Pater’s quotable claim) that all art aspires to the condition of music. It is true, though, that if your art involves language—if you are, for example, a poet—and you avoid consecutive, propositional, discursive, so-called prose sense, you might want to find in music some analogies and models that explain how your art can cohere. You might seek the naturalness of wordless birdsong, or the unfolding arrangements and meaningfulness-without-representation of much “classical” orchestral music. You might even want poems with a little of both. That goal seems to explain Gordon’s title; it also describes a good deal of his book’s success.
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