Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I'm Drew Gardner. It could be verse.

Frustration today because it turns out the Library of Congress form that my publisher and I sent for Selah was unacceptable because it was a poor photocopy, or the wrong sort of paper, or didn't smell right, or something. Federal bureaucracy! AARGH. So now we have to start all over again, which means either doing without LoC info (not even exactly sure what it's function is—do I need it if I want libraries to buy the book?) or pushing back the publication date till, I don't know, November or something. Verrrry frustrating. It gives me a dark premonition of bureaucratic snafus to come.

Been doing some good reading this week—started in on The Maximus Poems, which are much more like a novel than I ever would have guessed, and I'm also knee-deep in Kant and Kant-related things. Some interesting dovetailings between Kant, Lyotard's Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime, and the book of one of my professors, Douglas Mao's Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production: it's all about the tortured relationship between subject and object, which I've become very interested in both as it pertains to the work of the Objectivists and as it might pertain to pastoral. I'm becoming more and more convinced that "pastoral" as a mode has nothing to do with shepherds and instead is just a manifestation of the ancient fantasy of a) the unity of the subject and b) the unity of that subject with the object world (which changes valences interestingly if you redefine object world along the lines of "history/society" rather than as "nature"). Kant's "serene" experience of the beautiful, as clarified by Lyotard, is nearly synonymous with what I've been thinking of as the pastoral: "The analysis of the beautiful allows one to hope for the advent of a subject as a unity of the faculties, and for a legitimation of the agreement of real objects with the authentic destination of this subject, in the Idea of nature" (159). Of course Lyotard goes on to call the analytic of the sublime a "meteor dropped into the work" (ibid) because he seems to have derived his notion of the differend from the incommensurability of the faculties of taste and desire, the one being always disinterested and the other being always very interested indeed. It's all fascinating to me and probably dull as dishwater for you to read about. I promise to get back to talking about actual poetry someday.

Why is everyone so interested in these quizzes all of a sudden? Does hot weather incline us to waste more time than usual? Me, I'm taking the dog for a walk, right after I figure out what poetic form I am.

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