Wednesday, December 27, 2017


from Holderlin and the Essence of Poetry, 1936.

First of all it appeared that the field of action of poetry is language. Hence the essence of poetry must be understood through the essence of language. Afterwards it became clear that poetry is the inaugural naming of being and of the essence of all things – not just any speech, but that particular kind which for the first time brings into the open all that which we then discuss and deal with in everyday language. Hence poetry never takes language as the raw material ready to hand, rather it is poetry which first makes language possible. Poetry is the primitive language of an historical people. Therefore, in just the reverse manner, the essence of language must be understood through the essence of poetry.

Holderlin writes poetry about the essence of poetry – but not in the sense of a timelessly valid concept. This essence of poetry belongs to a determined time. But not in such away that it merely conforms to this time, as to one which is already in existence. It is that Holderlin, in the act of establishing the essence of poetry, first determines a  new time. It is the time of the gods that have fled and the god that is coming. It is the time of need, because it lies under a double lack and a double Not: the No-more of the gods that have fled and the Not-yet of the god that is coming. . .

Operating as a prophet the poet represents and interprets the signs of antiquity  for the people, according to Heidegger.

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