Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Still reading Pound, but yesterday I made an abrupt dive back into D.H. Lawrence. His Study of Thomas Hardy is a marvelous text, one of the most sustained explanations of his thought. I am now thinking that my first chapter will use Adorno and Heidegger to set up my idea of modernist pastoral as a middle space between myth and enlightenment/technology/production, a momentary clearing or rift between earth and world, a temporary refuge from history; then close the introduction with a look at Lawrence and how his pastoral tends to emphasize mimesis (in Adorno's sense) and the recovery of myth. The following chapters will then develop how formally innovative poets with a larger investment in techne than Lawrence use pastoral (or are used by it—Pound is basically seized by it, imprisoned by it) for aesthetico-political ends. Yeah, that's the ticket. So, sticking to my six-chapter plan, we're looking at 1) Adorno/Lawrence, 2) Pound, 3) Objectivists (including Williams?), 4) Spicer/O'Hara (urban pastoral!), 5) Duncan/Ronald Johnson, 6) contemporaries such as Lisa Robertson. Still not sure how to explain/narrate the shift from reactionary politics to progessive politics, though I have some ideas—I think the Pound-Zukfosky correspondence might be helpful here. I think that the more coherent a given poet's critique of capitalism, the more likely he or she is to reject the reactionary stance of a Lawrence or Pound (though both, it should be noted, have distinctly anarchist strains preceding and within their embrace of the extreme right). Also there's the shift from Lawrence's embrace of difference for his own individuality's sake (compromised by his many hates) to a more collective ideal that stands opposed to patriarchy and racism. (Is there a missing Language poets chapter? Mayhap.)

A thunderstorm is creeping into Ithaca. More later.

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