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?
A couple items to archive here - I've listened to neither of these, so am saving for later-- Pam Brown talks about collaborating with me and Maged Zaher (the latter became a Tinfish Press ...
1 day ago