Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What the hell am I working on? Is it the Pound chapter or the introduction? I know I should just put the chapter to bed (well, at this moment it's still sitting in front of the TV and begging me for "five more minutes") but it's impossible not to think about the Big Picture and nearly impossible to reconcile thinking about the Big Picture with the fine detail work that is actual chapter writing. What I should probably do is write some "introduction" (this would be my half-dozenth attempt at writing one) just to scratch the itch in my head and clarify a few things. Then I can go back to Pound refreshed. A conversation with my chair last week convinced me that I need to address the split in the two general interpretations of pastoral (as social construct, as engagement with nature) that I alluded to the other day head-on in the intro. I think I can use Heidegger to bridge the gap. Been reading some essays on Being and Time and the concept of "authenticity" (Eigentlichkeit), a better translation for which might be "ownness." My challenge is to extract from Heidegger's existentialism a historical construct, or rather to see it as such: an account, reading against the grain, of this existentialism as almost a modernist artwork rather than a structural account of timeless Dasein. It means misreading Heidegger, I think. What do the environmentalists do with him? Is it just his critique of technology and the "world-picture" that they embrace? As always, I'm less interested in any given author's intent than in what we can do with him or her—ever since I embraced poetry I've embraced my own tendency to creatively misread, which valorizes the present and future-potential over the claims of the past to be accurately transcribed. Not a historian's approach, I'll grant you, but you have to be true to your own nature—if you're lucky enough to discover what it is.

Lookee lookee at this new mag Puppyflowers—new to me, anyway. I often have a hard time reading poems on the web, but the large bright font against the dark pseudo-wood background is very legible. Particularly enjoying Shafer Hall's "The Dray Man & His Dray Horse Draw the Bulk Away," Shanna's alliterative "A Latin Atlas," and this remarkable line from Rachel Levitsky: "alley/gully/gutter/shaft".

Well will you just look at the time!

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