Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Even more irritable reaching...



Some time ago, I invented the rubric "Kneejerk Poetics" to cover all the obligatory platitudes and shibboleths that we automatically receive as wisdom relating to poetry; examples by the score can be found in the comment stream to my early Harriet post on the subject (as well as here and here).

Though much additional investigation remains to be done, I'm pleased to see Michael Theune's demolition of our rote obssession with "negative capability" and Katherine Duncan-Jones's weariness with "sunny invitations" to explicate sonnets.

And here's a lovely bit of irritability:

"Because I am old, I can see how little publication in a particular place actually means in terms of endorsing the quality of the work. And it would be dreadful if a small number of editors and publishers (who can be very lazy) engrossed all the excellent writing.

" (Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin)Everybody tries to pin everything down right now. It seems to be more important to pin things down than to write the poems."

2 comments:

Jordan said...

Well (and you have to hear that in Kenneth Koch's voice), writing the poems isn't necessarily an impediment to understanding what the poems are about, too -- just as it may help to see the question Alice Notley was responding to in that quote at the end of the post:

YS: If you don’t write out of place, what it is out of? Experience or occasion?

AN: Some combination of all of it. You can’t — I can’t pin it down. Everybody tries to pin everything down right now. It seems to be more important to pin things down than to write the poems. I can’t do that. I can’t get anything pinned down. I only have about two ideas, but then I have a lot of ideas, like too many, and I’m always between those two places.

Henry Gould said...

yeah, all that irritable pinning-down... back to analog recordings. Seriously. Give me the continuum, the synthesis, the flow.