Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Same Only WRO-ong!

At the end of July, I posted an entry entitled “The Same – Only Different,” a response to Robert Archambeau’s comments on unacknowledged similarities between the poetics of supposedly competing “camps” in Poetryland. It drew a couple of comments, and since I don’t have anything new to say, I thought I’d return to it. First of all, I referred to Allen Tate’s statement that “poetry finds its usefulness in its perfect inutility,” and blithely continued:

“All of which might be an interesting angle on Dale Smith’s SloPo. The purpose of slow poetry is to sever poetry from any vestigial links to the market economy – and to help its devotees to move in that direction. This is, however, not a desire to destroy poetry’s use value; quite the contrary, since the point is to produce an improved quality of life.”

To which, Dale Smith:

“I don't think there's anyway to isolate one's self from the global economy. That's not the point of slo poetry. . . . Slow Poetry like the other slow movements brings attention to the lines of transport and exchange, thereby giving people ways to reflect more accurately on how the exchange takes place.”

Point taken, Dale. I just wish it actually were going to make everything slow down. Can’t you do something about that?? I’m tired of reflecting. But I want somebody else to do it.

Reflecting is what I get paid to do, in part. That’s so “intellectuals” don’t do anything stupid, like political organizing.

The second comment came from Robert A. himself, who wanted clarification on this rather sententious utterance: “However, this is not the result of some Hegelian self-identity inherent in (or emerging from) the nature of things. It is the material genealogy of an idea – an idea that should be considered within the specifics of particular moments in the history of liberal-democratic/capitalist society.”

Here’s what I wrote him in an e-mail (for better or worse):

“About that last paragraph from the post: looking at it between quotation marks makes it seem like a really bad parody of early Marx. There was that bit at the beginning of your post re: your reading Hegel in grad school, over-against poststructuralism (or something like that), and since I was in part agreeing with what you had to say, I guess I felt the need to distinguish my position from an Hegelian one.

“I'm sure you know lots more about him than I do (it's been a long time since I've read Mr. H.), but I do recall a lot of talk re: reconciliation and unification of contradictions in the Absolute Idea - ‘the reunion of what has been parted’ - or differences' being like the flower, fruit, and leaves of the same tree (i.e., unimportant, when compared with the fundamental underlying sameness). Which means similarities represent the really real and the truly true. Or something like that.

“Anyway, I reckon I take a rather more pedestrian view of things than H. I'm looking for causal connections in discourse via specific people and words (and the interests they express). Hegel would probably say that this is the (apparent) victory of Understanding over Reason. I don't know. In any event, it seems to me that it's the result of specific people reading particular books in a given time and place (and, perhaps, identifying with the same social class or even clique). Whatever else a particular similarity may express - any wider-angle, metaphysical, or bird's-eye speculative view - I pass over in silence. That's all.”

All of which is rehashing an old hat, to be sure. But that’s what blogs are for, nays paw?

Speaking of which, I love the way that, when you mention someone in your blog, they get in touch. So if I were to mention the name “Monica Bellucci,” say . . .

2 comments:

Dale said...

Joe--you mentioned my name, so I'm getting in touch!

What's wrong with "reflection?"

Our work in poetry or, to a lesser extent, in academia, is important because such reflective practice can bring pressure to issues that can be worked out in other rhetorical situations.

In fact, I'm going to stop talking so much about reflection and the expansion of capacities in my writing and look at poetry as something that exerts pressure on the world around us. Can't reflection generate such pressure, engaging others with unexpected claims, relationships, juxtapositions, etc?

You can't act as if poetry consists of two pennies that, when rubbed together, make magic happen. Poetry is a kind of labor, with marginal results, that may or may not be good for anybody. But when it's on, or under certain uses, it can apply pressure to make us think for a moment about the habits, accepted patterns of thought, or the domain of received beliefs and opinion we carry around.

I was reading Flaubert this week--Three Tales--and he pressures you to think about how we see ourselves and others, and makes you look into an abyss that is just plain old life staring at you. What else do you expect poetry to accomplish?

Joseph Harrington said...

Nothing - in fact, I have to agree with everything in those last two paragraphs. Well said.

I really like what you write on these topics. Even if you're not Monica Bellucci.