Tuesday, June 01, 2004

And here is Kent's response (see below):

Thanks for this reply. We are of similar political minds, in the broad

But in terms of the poem, I would want to say that the last stanza is
not to be taken so literally as you seem to have it... I don't know any
poets who would do such things, as the political portrait painted there
at the end should make clear. It's all a fairly fantastic projection, to
say the least. The hyperbolic disjuncture in the last section (i.e., the
"alignment" of a "Poets Against the War" poet --I was in the anthology,
remember!-- with the torturers) is strange, admittedly, hopefully
disturbing to some extent, and even at some deeper levels --levels
beyond the protocols of ideological "alignments"-- true, yes.

But again, certainly not in a literal sense... It's meant, rather, to
take the poem elsewhere, beyond the expected and proper parameters of
our political "good behaviors," which we are usually so eager to affirm
(as you do in your reply, and as I do all the time, much more than you,
probably), in our polemics and our poetry. The poem wishes to unsettle
that easy, self-congratulatory relation to the ideological, and point,
as I said, toward other spaces less comfortable to acknowledge-- spaces
that are present everywhere: in our private lives, in our poetic
communities, in our dreams, and so on. None of which is news to many,
I'm sure, but I don't see any reason why such "news" can't be in
"political poems." You could say men and women die everyday for lack of
the self-acknowledgment of such news, don't you think?

And not that we should stop the straight partisan work and writing we
do(!), and not that I have a handle on what those "darker spaces" are
made of, or how this weird, little, fleeting poem came to be, or what
the exact purposes of its energies are... But it does seem to have
struck a nerve-chord with many readers these past few days, and that
makes me feel glad it got written.

tu amigo,

More later if the spirit moves me.

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