Friday, May 27, 2005

The Pound chapter gets longer and longer, but fittingly enough, I cannot make it cohere—not yet, anyway. Every day I open it up and add a few bricks here or there, while waiting for the moment of clarity that will enable me to put the pieces in some kind of accumulative order. That seems to be my usual process in writing critical prose; sometimes it's frustrating waiting for that moment of clarity (and I usually need more than one), though of course I'm not usually just waiting but reading or scribbling notes or writing pages that I'm not sure I'll be able to use once the moment comes. Right now I'm still elaborating Pound's "bad" pastoral ideology in the Middle Cantos: his agrarian fantasies, Fascist Confucianism, Social Credit, etc.; only when I've made a coherent narrative out of that will I feel able to write the second half which will read The Pisan Cantos as having a more open and direct attitude toward nature that serves to negate and undermine both his authority and the authority of the emerging military-industrial complex that imprisons him.

Still fiddling with "Kiosk/Stylus" and unsure when it will feel done enough to try and publish in some form. I'd like to place it with one of the little chapbook publishers that produce so much of the most vital and interesting work these days: Effing Press, Pressed Wafer, Singing Horse Press, etc. (Speaking of Singing Horse, I've been enjoying Hank Lazer's latest from them, The New Spirit—a beautifully designed book that continues in certain respects the more yearning meditations of Elegies & Vacations.) What I'd really like to do, actually, is read it aloud and see how that goes: it might help me "hear" the spots that need tightening or elaboration—perhaps I'd even be moved to improvise some stuff that could go into the text afterward. In spite of kind words from Jasper and others, I'm still anxious about the looseness of the form—the confidence of my Inner Whitman has been elusive ex post scripto. I suspect it may be a transitional text for me, perhaps away from verse altogether for awhile. Sentences and paragraphs have a new allure, plus I keep thinking I need to somehow reapproach narrative (Biting the Error might feed that search). On the other hand, I am writing a bloody dissertation: maybe that's all the prose I'll need for a while.

Indefatigable question-answerer Ron Silliman is still waiting for some kind of "serious," 'self-organizing" movement among younger poets to emerge. Are we not now perhaps as "post-movement" as we are "post-avant"? That is, aren't we still mostly coasting on the intersecting eddies from the two biggest splashes of the last half-century, NY School and Langpo? Anyway, is our only choice "atomization" or card-carrying member of some movement? Many of the most interesting active poets I'm aware of are engaged as part of one or more communities/friendship rings/antisuicide pacts/roundtables. And they have living and contestatory senses of history, tradition, and affiliation. Ron is rather like a poetic Federalist, while these days I'm more inclined toward Jeffersonian confederacy—only, you know, without the slavery. It's true that movements and manifestos concentrate energy and cause poetry to emerge out of the shadows of its autonomy (in a harsher mood, we call it "irrelevance"). But at the moment I'm more excited by flow than concentration.

Still haven't seen Star Wars yet. Am I gonna?

1 comment:

Ron said...

Alexander Hamilton was right! But so was Kautsky.

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