Monday, July 20, 2009

Me & Pete Townshend's nose, or: We are all coteries now!

Me & Pete Townshend's nose??!

What does that objet and Paul Blackburn, Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser, Robert Lowell, Ezra Pound, Thomas Traherne, a Milton dictionary, W.S. Graham, Robert Burton, Delmore Schwartz, Samuel Johnson, Blake, Auden, Jules Supervielle, Janet Frame, Walter Benjamin’s “archives,” Lamb’s essays, tiny volumes of Thoreau & Marcus Aurelius, Michael Hofmann, & Basil Bunting have in common??? Click here or on the pic for the answer.

Charles Bernstein says: "We are all coteries now (only some are in more denial about it than others and they are the ones that trouble my sleep).

My idea is not that we should all get along, and certainly not that the same things should be on our radar, but rather that we’d be better off not to cast our disagreements in terms of the ignorance of those with whom we disagree. This is harder than it may seem. Stigmatizing aesthetic or ideological disagreement as if it were the results of ignorance, fraudulence, or insignificance is too often the way both art (and poetry) business is conducted by those who fiercely police what they too often regard as their own turf.

No Trespassing!

Don’t get me wrong: I am ignorant, I make mistakes at every turn; it’s my awareness of that, to the degree I can be, that is my guide.

I am as partial and partisan as anyone. Preference and selection are a necessary part of aesthetic judgment. Yet, my radar might be the exact map of another person’s exclusions, just as another’s exclusions might begin to map my paradise. The relation of these two ideas (conviction in one’s aesthetic judgment and its inevitable limitations) is not irreconcilable but dialectical."

The problem with hipsters seems to me the way in which they reduce the particularity of anything you might be curious about or invested in into the same dreary common denominator of how “cool” it is perceived to be. Everything becomes just another signifier of personal identity. Thus hipsterism forces on us a sense of the burden of identity, of constantly having to curate it if only to avoid seeming like a hipster. But are there hipsters, actual hipsters, or just a pervasive fear of hipsters? Hipster hatred may actually precede hipsters themselves. Maybe that collective fear and contempt conjures them into being, just as the Red Scare saw communists everywhere, or how the Stasi made spies of everyone. Late capitalism makes us all fear being hipsters and thus makes us all into one, to some degree. -- Rob Horning

All poets go to heaven, even the evil ones. -- Joseph Massey


Anonymous said...

>All poets go to heaven, even the evil ones. -- Joseph Massey

May that be true.

Joseph Massey is a remarkable poet. More than a year ago he asked me for a blurb for Areas of Fog, and I sent him one, and then I thought it wasn't quite right, and so I told him best to not use it, even though he liked it. I can't remember why I didn't like what I'd written. Maybe I'll try to find it here, and post it, for what it's worth.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, that was two years ago Joe asked me, and he asked me for his previous book, Out of Light! I actually haven't seen Areas of Fog yet.

Here's what I sent Joe and withdrew (again, I can't remember why I called it back-- now it seems pretty good to me!), so that the blurb has some readers. Massey deserves it:

>In Joseph Massey's best writing, as in the best of Oppen's, Creeley's, or Santoka's, say, there is a proffering of language that seems at once painstakingly precise and instinctively quick. The seeming paradox is both answered and not answered in the final, compacted luminescences of his poems, which deftly refuse any finality, giving off spokes of surprise at sudden velocities, even while their darker, enfolded bodies move slowly--discretely, and in serial interlockings--into subtle, undertow measures... There is a significant young poet here, on the road, let's hope, of a still-long work.


brian (baj) salchert said...

I've tended to see myself as not belonging to a coterie but there is little doubt there are coteries I could be seen as belonging to.