Monday, May 16, 2005

From the essay "Is I Another?" in Ann Lauterbach's The Night Sk: Writings on the Poetics of Experience:
The idea of an "objective uncertainty" is, in my view, a key to postmodern poetics. If the "I" finds its way out of the egotistical sublime and toward the alterity implied by all imaginative acts, then it will once again initiate paths away from self-absorbed narcissism to a recognition of the linguistic matrix that binds us to each other and to the world. A fwe weeks ago, I saw another piece of graffiti, on Eleventh Street and Fourth Avenue in Manhattan: DIVERSITY IS NECESSARY. How fortuituous, I thought. If American poetics is once again to illuminate the passage from private to public discourse, it must seek diversity of method, resource, and means. If a poem is a portrait of how a mind works, a soul is formed, how a heart translates affective response into language, it is also a portrait of how language forms and informs our necessary diversity.
The phrase "objective uncertainty" is Kierkegaard's; and Kierkegaard is one of the figures Bob Baker considers in the third chapter of his book on apocalyptic writer-thinkers (the other three are Emily Dickinson, Mallarme, and Derrida) who combine a radical questioning of subjectivity with a radical questioning of language. This nexus seems close to Lauterbach's practice, as well. And is this another way of thinking the intersection public/private, with "public" belonging to language and "private" belonging to subjectivity?

No comments:

Popular Posts