"Sandhyabasha"

David R. Israel davidi at wizard.net
Sun Mar 30 07:58:34 EST 1997


Respected Indologists --

on the Poetics listserv (based at Univ. of Buffalo, and an active hub 
for avant-chitchat), poet Gwyn McVay posted this inquiry:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date:          Sun, 30 Mar 1997 00:20:38 -0500
From:          Gwyn McVay <gmcvay1 at OSF1.GMU.EDU>
Subject:       Re: Further Thoughts on the "Interior Indentation"
To:            POETICS at LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU

In her introduction to the City Lights edition of Kerouac's /Scripture
of the Golden Sutra/, Anne Waldman sez,

        Sanskrit poetics speaks of /Sandhyabasha/ or
        twilight speech, which is an "upside-down"
        language harboring contradictions and
        paradoxes.

I'd love to find out her source on this--it reminds me of the Sioux
(please correct me if I've misattributed this) /heyoka/,
thunder-clown, who lived, spoke, and acted backwards-- Gwyn
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Perhaps the mentioned device in Sanskrit poetics is too familiar to 
merit special Indology discussion -- but I wonder if someone might 
care to present a few useful references abt. this?

[I myself recall reading (maybe 15-20 years ago) an essay on the topic 
by an Indologist (somehow I think the essay-book was published in 
USSR, oddly) -- but I forget the bloke's name or other particulars.  
I'd picked up the vol., so happens, at Shambhala Books in Berkeley; 
the subject was indeed an interesting one, in terms of poetics.  As I 
recall, the sort of backwards-speech in question (a form of irony) 
was traced back quite far -- I think to the Ramayana -- though 
naturally was more prevalent in far-subsequent court poetry & such.  
But I' m speaking here from a too-vague recollection of that essay.]

ALSO, while on this Sanskrit poetics topic:  is there, by chance, any 
manner of critical consensus regarding the lovely-looking translation 
of Sanskrit poetry verses, in which American poet W.S. Merwin was 
involved, entitled *The Peacock's Egg* (published by the erstwhile 
North Point Press), I wonder?  Merwin collaborated w/ that 
psycholigist chap Massoud (who managed, later, to get into some fine 
controversies, I've noted -- w/ the Freud Archives, et seq.)

thanks / best,
d.i.




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