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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More on Olson

Joseph Hutchinson hits the nail on the head: "Olson is spiky, craggy, and ultimately fairly linear; Duncan's brushstrokes enlarge the canvas as they go." The spikiness is the result of two formal features - viz., that REALLY irritating habit of enjambing the last word of the line onto the next. Rachel Blau DuPlessis describes this as "the invention of a posthumanist practice of line break" - one of the things (in spite of his maximalist masculinism) that makes him "inspiring." I guess it's supposed to make it feel spiky and posthumanist - like Bauhaus, maybe. But you get the idea pretty quickly, and after that, it seems like a bothersome tic.

Speaking of which - speaking of speaking - if O. really believed that the breath was the measure of the line, all I can say is, he shoulda stopped smoking. In some places, he barely stops for breath - at others, he's panting.

The other feature - the other way of "breaking" - is breaking off in the middle of a thought or story - not to clarify or start over or move the current in a different direction (as in Spring and All), but just because he's moved on. This may speak to the business about poetry as divorced from the audience (Joseph has written about this topic on his blog lately - and thanks for quoting me, BTW!) - maybe that's why it's "posthumanist." But I wonder if posthumanism is capable of being a content that form is following . . .

No question for me that Duncan is a humanist (despite or b/c of the platonism), and I'm not, really (tho I do think humans deserve the same rights as other species). I agree that, in the final analysis, it feels like his writing is more "open field" than O's (and, of course, D's form is following his content, in this regard). But I still resist what seems to me to read history in terms of the mythic. I'm more for burrowing down into the local - like Olson's mole - or WCW's Paterson.

BTW - can anyone tell me how I can make comments appear automatically beneath the original post? For me, dialogue is part of the point of blog, so why hide the comments?

2 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

"I'm not [a humanist], really (tho I do think humans deserve the same rights as other species)."

Now, Joseph—what a fine name, I have to say—I simply don't believe you. Humans deserve the same rights as cockroaches? viruses? rattlesnakes? whales? That's a total of 5 species whose rights I can't imagine you view as equal. Or are you a Jain? If so, of course I'll have to concede the point.

Re: Duncan ... there's also something (if I may use such a word) grand in his Passages and Structure of Rime sequences running from book to book like tall-grass creeks, appearing and disappearing and conveying a profound (to me) mixture of abidingness and onwardness. Is there anybody else who has done this kind of thing?

Joseph Harrington said...

I'm not worried about the viruses and humans - they're doing just fine by themselves (for largely the same reasons). Indeed, if humans went the way of the whales, I daresay all the other species would be a lot better off.