Thursday, January 16, 2014

RK interviews Anne Gorrick on Perfume & Poetry

RK: Blake clamored for us to enjoy "enlarg'd and numerous senses."  Curious that when back in the Psychedelic Era people quoted that, it was mostly to foster drug experiences--trans-sensual as they are.  What of enlarging the senses we already have (or are)? 

AG: Perfume is invisible.  Many people roll their eyes at it, as if you’re asking them to believe in ghosts.  There is a flaky, new age, intellectually negligent perception that surrounds scent.  But it’s an entire realm that is completely Proustian, sometimes plangent, dimensional, symphonic.  The first oudh (or agarwood) that I ever smelled gave me the impression that I had walked into a new room.  It created a space that I could now inhabit.  I think it’s funny that we can all agree on what we see, what we hear, what we taste and feel.  But not necessarily on what we smell.  It’s as if we don’t have the language yet for the sense of smell, but we’re working on it.

Robert, why do you think the sense of smell reverberates for us, as shimmering as memory?  Our other senses are more straightforward.  It’s as if every scent has the potential to sepia at the edges.  It’s as if time imprints scent more readily and hauntingly than our other senses.