In Search of Distraction by Matthew Bevis | Poetry Magazine

I believe this is a very important topic and that if you have time to read the article I think you’ll find it beneficial. I think artists already know about this sometimes expressed as seeing things in a wider focus or daydreaming or reverie.

Distraction need not simply be another name for attention shifted (“I was looking at this, then I looked at that”). Attention is a form of “tension,” but the relaxation here — both that which creates the condition for the new perception and that which follows from it — is primarily conceived as passive (objects fall “upon the eye, are “carried to the heart”). The sense of one’s capacity of apprehension being “penetrated” is also strange; it’s as though, in a certain state of distractedness, our capacities are not our own. Yet this state isn’t conceived as deficit or disorder; although it arrives as Wordsworth has undertaken “final abandonment of hope,” it signals an advent. And even as he becomes distractedly absorbed by the bright star, the star itself is already luring him into a feeling for something other than itself, igniting “a sense of the Infinite.” The numinous turns nebulous. The unfocused seems to include — or to inspire — a new sense of freedom.


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