Everywhere Being Is Dancing: Twenty Pieces of Thinking by Robert Bringhurst

By Robert Bringhurst

During this better half quantity to The Tree of Meaning, Robert Bringhurst collects twenty essays lower than the subversive precept that “everything is expounded to every little thing else.” His stories construct upon this feeling of easy connection, and contain the paintings of poets, musicians, and philosophers as various as Ezra Pound, John Thompson, Don McKay, Empedokles, Parmenides, Aristotle, Skaay, Plato, George Clutesi, Elizabeth Nyman, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Dennis Lee, and Glenn Gould.
The price Bringhurst locations at the technique of translation, the discussion among one language and one other, and the sheer adventure of witnessing translation through interpreting and listening to poems, tales, and songs of their unique languages is one other robust presence during this assortment. Accompanying the English narrative are passages in Tlingit, Haida, chinese language, Greek, German, Cree, and Russian, for readers who are looking to locate the styles and style a number of the vocabulary for themselves, for these drawn to assembly the languages partway.

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Indd 34 03/12/2008 12:34:51 PM singing with the fro gs lute or keyboard to play two tunes or three at once. The greater part of this repertoire was written during the Renaissance. Its heyday ends where many people’s sense of European musical history begins: with the work of J. S. Bach. Polyphonic music and homophonic music are different in design, different in construction, and different in effect, though the boundary between them is frequently a wide and fuzzy line. It can be difficult to say precisely at which point a secondary voice asserts its independence or gives it up again – and yet the difference overall is one no listener can miss.

I would prefer a pagan polyphony – but that, after all, I am free to create, and I find the example of Christian polyphony quite helpful to that end. And polyphonic literature, for me at least, is somehow now more urgent than polyphonic music. There is, I suppose, a simple reason for that: I see much more to speak of than to sing of in the self-entranced and self-destructive culture by which we are engulfed. Polyphony, like poetry, exists in many forms. Not all of it is sung; not all of it is lyric.

It’s also what we hear where people speak with neither fealty nor fear, and where their speech is not drowned out by their machines. If we wrote poetry the way Josquin des Près and Nicolas Gombert, two masters of polyphony, wrote music, we could write for four or eight. The mind is capable of that plurality. We are capable of polyphonic thought and polyphonic speech, as polyphonic music proves. We are capable, that is, of multiplicity of mind in a healthy form. Why is it that the only multiplicity of mind in fashion now is a crippling disease?

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