In some of the comments in my last big post, people took me to task about renaming the actors in a poetic debate.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
So I guess I'm a twit now.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
So this really has naught to do with poetry
But imagine yourself as a historian 500 years from now.
How will you see the USA? We mention "end of empire" as if it's an inevitability -- but then we think -- heck, Rome lasted a gabillion (okay, 1100 to upwards of 2000) years -- as a realy & influential nation, it probably had a good 6-800 year run. First in Rome proper and then as Byzantium. Which gives me pause.
England was the dominant power in Europe/the World since the defeat of the Spanish Armada until the end of WWIish. Certainly by the end of WWII they had handed the mantle to us (that's US), a former colony (and a rebellious one at that).
Those of you unfamiliar with the history of Rome might not know that when power began to be shared in the East and West (co-Caesars and co-Augusti and all that -- if you really want to get the digs, go here) there was conflict. War even. And that the (new) Eastern (part of the) empire felt free, independent of, and more progressive than the Western one. And that after a while, all the stuff done in the West simply came out of the East.
We've reversed that, of course, but I think it might be best from a future-historian view to look at the US as not separate and distinct but simply the Western United Kingdom.
Then our seemingly rapid descent into decadence makes much more sense.
and I'm proud to be a Western United Kingdomer
where at least my water's clean
and I won't forget my British folks
who made up laws for me. . .
Monday, April 13, 2009
You know, Dante and Cavalcante still managed to meet in the middle and write some damn good poetry.
Even if their religion and politics were at odds (to say the least) they were drinkin' buddies.
But you sorta have to do that with your neighbors.
As we grow apart, first in urban-to-suburbanization, then in electronic group isolation, we lose that familiarity.
When I was at AWP, I don't think I met a person with whom I didn't get along. Heck, I'm buddies with Susan Schultz, whose politics and aesthetics probably couldn't be farther from mine. Of course, I took a class with her, which helped.
But then I look at all of this poorly written, shame-faced, shambling false poetry out there and my blood pressure rises. It gets worse if I ever take the time (which I do too frequently) to read the prose justifications of said poetry (note: if you've got to write a justification/explanation for your poem, it sucks; Eliot just wrote the notes for The Waste Land in order to get it to near book length -- quit being an imitating iguana). Worse still if I read the naive political views of so many of the authors (seriously, folks -- did you ever read your history books? Wikipedia has a fine collection of historical facts; perhaps you look at them for a mo').
I know, from the writing of The Declaration last year that the reverse is true. There was a tiny storm of poo from some circles. Actually, I know someone who stopped talking to me because of it ("know I am not your ally" says he).
What gives? Do we all need 3D printers/replicators and video chat so we can get drunk together?
How do you create a sense of community among people with disparate interests but who aren't in one place?
Is it even possible?
Perhaps that's the question of the next few decades. . . what diverse communities can we build when no one has to live together?
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
For the right reason -- that it is a funamentally communist story.
Eliot, you must remember identified as a "royalist in politics". This was no slouch of a position. There was no dissolved Parliament in the 1930s.
Eliot was making a very charged political statement. Indeed his trilogy of "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, Anglo-Catholic in religion" was shocking and packed with meaning -- like most everything he wrote. In a time of increased chaotic modernism, Eliot embraced order, order, and order with a heaping dose of authority. And then produced his masterwork -- the Four Quartets.
A lesson to all of those writers floundering around in relativistic agony?