Dark Imagining: the ecstatic poetry of Georg Trakl

Spectral Lyre

What’s a soul to do when confronted with poems that are one step beyond, that take you toward slant time and altered being? What to do when confronted with a poet who has a spiritual imagination, who creates written beauty, who is a genuine artist? I suppose one option is to just be quiet, be content in those moments of reading stupefaction. Or one can do what I’m doing now – try to say something about the experience.

I’ll start by looking at a photo of the poet, as if some clue to the hidden spirits of language might be registered there.



It’s probably wayward for me to say it, but I will anyway: the face of Georg Trakl is mad with hidden spirits of language. If I were told this picture had been taken inside a locked asylum for expressively coiled savants, I wouldn’t be surprised. There’s…

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