How would Gertrude describe this night, one that has felt akin to her beloved poodle chasing its tail. Would she even say poodle or tail? Certainly chasing would be broken up into pieces of movement. He chases he chases it he is chasing he chases chases it chasing he is  chasing it chases he chases it chasing

Yes, I realize I failed miserably at that attempt! Actually, please note that I do not poke fun at this style, in fact, I’m in complete admiration. When I first read “Tender Buttons” I knew nothing of GS style, influences, etc.. but there was a center, a home in her poetic movement. Her ability to paint with words is amazing. Her compositions remain alive in their movement though they do not contain traditional keys. That is key. That is perhaps why she annoys some readers, she is that slightly out-of-tune instrument that first causes a cringe, but then draws you in for a closer listen for there is something beautiful in all that noise — you must listen closely, concentrate, listen Again.

As always, it is late, so I shall leave with this “found”  bit– I tried to find a home for this comment on one of the boards, but the ones that were of great interest seemed too entrenched in discussion to warrant my intrusion. (Not to mention that I feel terribly non-cerebral compared to many of the regulars whose threads are always popping up — a brilliant crowd over at ModPo, indeed).

Interestingly, I just came across this quote from GS, though I believe she was talking about her writing process for *The Making of Americans.* I had wondered if she wrote as she spoke, rather circular, concise… repetitive.

There are only a few words and with these mostly always I am writing that have for me completely entirely existing being, in talking I use many more of them of words I am not living but talking is another thing, in talking one can be saying mostly anything, often then I am using many words I never could be using in writing.* ~ Gertrude Stein

The author, who highlighted this quote, went on to suggest that Stein transcribed rather than transformed her thoughts as she wrote — a live translation of internal dialogue, so to speak. As I re-read TB, I cannot help but hear this dialogue, her moving the object about in her mind, twisting it ever so slightly until it melds into a verbal representation of what she perceives, or sees in her mind’s eye, without actually using traditional descriptive language.

There you have it, a moment in the not so brief study of Gertrude Stein – a life, cubed. I wonder, has anyone ever composed her verbal portrait, as she composed Picasso’s, a portrait, completed. Below is the portrait that Picasso composed of Stein – story goes, she sat 90 some times, but Picasso couldn’t complete her face. He went on holiday for many months, came back and painted in her face from memory. That irony is why I think she entitled her poem to Picasso as “completed’, a bit of snark, Stein style. ~

Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906, Metropolitan...

Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. When someone commented that Stein did not look like her portrait, Picasso replied, “She will”. “Portrait of Gertrude Stein”. Metropolitan Museum . . Retrieved 26 August 2010 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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