Monday, April 6, 2009

Stories that aren't being told anymore















I'm interested in stories that aren't being told anymore. I'm interested in what we miss out on when we're constantly looking in our experience of the avant-garde to be rewarded by instances of breaks between high and low, evidence of the decentered sign. What about sincere belief in God? Elves? Magic? Can't we appreciate that?

[snip]

Given that I believe, then, that [...] much of what we consider to be first-generation postmodern art is grounded in a practically visionary tradition [...] questions I applied to my study include, "How did filmmaker Kenneth Anger and poet Robert Duncan think collaboratively about the functions of myth and magic in their work?"; "What is the relationship between the 'serial' poem and the avant-garde 'serial' move series... particularly given the use of the poetic fragment as a unit of composition?

-- Daniel Kane, We Saw the Light: Conversations between the New American Cinema and Poetry (Just out!)

8 comments:

baj salchert said...

Even though I was raised as a Roman Catholic, I have had life experiences which force me to believe in God or at least some controlling being beyond my understanding. As to elves: the Imp from the Garbage Universe. As to magic: my rhodingeedaddee word which arose out of childhood imaginings involving a highly personal magic box.

mgushuedc said...

This book immediately went on my wish list. Thanks for pointing it out.

Michael Robbins said...

I'm glad to see someone raising these questions, sorry to see Kane's prose style hasn't improved any.

Don Share said...

I redacted that prose here a little, but point taken, M.R.

Jake said...

You haven't even read the book. It's beautifully written. I'm sorry to see you engaging in this kind of negative scholarship--this is the kind of attitude that makes academics a sad place. Maybe read the book before judging it based on a poorly edited excerpt.

Don Share said...

Um, not sure if you're addressing me, but I've got a copy of the book, and have read it. It's a fine book. I'm not engaging in scholarship and am not an academic. I excerpted it here, in fact, so that others would know about it and judge for themselves.

Michael Robbins said...

Anyone who wants to argue with me about my take on Kane's prose style is gently asked to read my review of his All Poets Welcome in Chicago Review before emailing me about it.

And so I don't need to respond to individual emails received thus far, let me say that, yes, this is an excerpt (this is a blog, this is a comment on a blog, posterity is not watching), but "what we miss out on when we're constantly looking in our experience of the avant-garde to be rewarded by instances of breaks between high and low" is an example of the editorially challenged style I attack in my review. I guess the pleasures of such writing are what I miss out on when I'm constantly looking in my experience of criticism to be rewarded by instances of well-crafted sentences.

Jake said...

Michael - I agree with you that the one sentence you isolate and mock so slickly is pretty awkward. I should add, by the way, that I haven't read Kane's other work and don't know much about poetry. I'm more into the film side of things which is why I picked up 'We Saw the Light' in the first place.

All that said, I have trouble seeing the logic of reading a review you wrote about another book in order to understand your blithe dismissal of a book about which you know nothing. I say this because I think - should you actually take the time to read Kane's book - that you'll find the one sentence you've fixed on above is not actually that representative of the book as a whole. (Compared to other books I've read on film - Deleuze comes to mind - Kane's 'prose style' is a model of clarity!).

But it seems from your previous post that you like to 'attack', so maybe that's the role you're carving out for yourself as an academic? (I assume you are an academic - apologies if I'm wrong here). Sorry I'm going on here, as it sounds like you're a very busy man who's not necessarily interested in having his opinions challenged. It's just that I found Kane's book to be remarkably original and interesting, even if there were some badly-written sentences included in the work.