...I asked the poet Tony Hoagland what he thought about fear. He said fear was the ghost of an experience: we fear the recurrence of a pain we once felt, and in this way fear is like a hangover. The memory of our pain is a pain unto itself, and thus feeds our fear like a foyer with mirrors on both sides. And then he quoted Auden: “And ghosts must do again/What gives them pain.” It is interesting to note that this idea—fear’s being the ghost of pain, or imaginary pain—figures in psychological torture by the cia; in fact, their experiments with pain found that imaginary pain was more effective than physical pain—poets, take note—and thus psychological torture more effective than physical torture...
Monday, June 18, 2012
Mary Ruefle writes about fear: