Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry kicked ass. Everyone seems to agree. And while I share John Latta's dismay over the tendency of Democrats to let the Republicans define the argument (that really, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with the default American mindset: a refusal to make space for the incommensurate, a refusal of any and all attempts to transcend and reshape the given, except religious transcendence, reflected in Bush's coded Christian fundamentalism), it matters that Kerry was able to demonstrate, largely by giving Bush enough rope, the incoherency of that argument. What a pathetic spectacle Bush is—how whiny, how offended by being contradicted for the first time in four years. I'd like to see this taken in a direction whereby the need for a national daddy is compromised, not the particular daddy. But if we must have a Great White Father let it be the man who can think for himself and on his feet, and who inhabits a world I recognize as closely resembling my own.

In other news, thanks to the latest HCE interviewee, Jonathan Minton, for his impressive online journal Word for /Word, which I was previously unaware of. (And he lives in Helena, Montana! I lived there for a year before moving to Missoula for grad school. Beautiful town, not a whole heck of a lot going on. I wonder what he's doing there?) Tremendously enthusaistic about the work I found there by Juliet Patterson, a poet previously unknown to me. Intelligent, intense lyricism with what I want to call a sheer quality—a thinness, a translucence. Still a sucker for the high lyric, for the sheerly beautiful—I'm finding this in Cole Swensen's Goest, too (which I received in return for entering the New York/New England Contest Alice James Books runs—a practice I wish more contests would imitate). I'm very interested in a socially engaged lyric right now, in discursivity and in creating an impact or a sense of "wroughtness" through syntax rather than the lapidary image. But I still have a strong love of the latter. A wish for "high" language—not out of pretentiousness or a desire to isolate myself from the hoi polloi, but out of a wish for genuine dignity, a secular sacredness.
          The simplest act
remains immured

as within a thousand sealed
vessels in the blue volutes

of the morning sea, the rural

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