Monday, March 16, 2009


This week's article from Jim Kunstler is Side Trip. rho00316


Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

"Read a comment I need to read again.If I find it, I will present the gist of it here. Found it, but can't change it. It's beneath Silliman's 2009-02-10 list of links. It's Gary B. Fitzgerald's comment."

Did you disagree?

baj salchert said...

Just went there, and recalled having read it more than once. It baffled me, and still does, although I do agree that those who do both "have been . . . for centuries." Now, if you mean that the SOQs are word-driven and the SONs (as Bill Knott names them) are theory-driven, I would have to say that is true. However, the LangPos claim their theory foregrounds words, which is why the emphasis on the signifier and the de-emphasis on narrative, metaphor, simile, the authorial I.
Personally, I don't think it is possible for humans to banish the ego. If the ego isn't detectable in the poem, it will be detectable in the theory behind the poem. At the American Academy of Poets is a basic but excellent essay on poetics by D. A. Powell. For me, the artifact takes priority, even when some idea (a villanelle, say) informs it. [ Theodore Roethke just came to mind. ]

Thank you for your comment.


Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Mr. Salchert:

The very existence of a poem presumes the existence of ego. Poems don’t actually bloom on grapevines, now, do they? Besides, only a megalomaniacal nincompoop would even bother to write one. I believe my description of these current ‘schools’ is accurate, but my point was simply that this contemporary hair-splitting is silly and won’t stand the test of time. If this wasn't true we’d all still be writing like Chaucer.

Pursuant to this idea, an interesting essay by Donald Hall in American Poetry Review:;col1


P.S. If this link doesn't work (I'm not very good at this sort of thing), you can find the link at today's post on Poetry Hut.

baj salchert said...

Mr. Fitzgerald:

". . . this contemporary hair-splitting is silly. . . ."

Absolutely. It is.


I'll go to Poetry Hut.


Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

My comment above is not very clear and even I don’t understand it, which is kind of scary since I wrote it. :-) But, hey…it is St. Patty’s Day and I AM Irish and I may be just slightly less than sober right now. Please allow me to clarify.

All I am saying is that poetry is a fluid thing and no snapshot at any given point in time will ultimately define it. It’s sort of like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle regarding sub-atomic particles: they can not be measured because the very act of measuring changes what you see so your measurements will always be uncertain. Poetry is organic. Poetry evolves! As Lao tzu described water (Tao): “Grasp it…it can not be held”.

What has survived is what we have and all the measurements in between are ultimately irrelevant. Poetry is not a river with this bend and that. It is a delta with many rapidly spreading streams. Name a stream if you will, but it will soon divide and be elsewhere with brand new names. The names will be forgotten. The poems remain.

baj salchert said...

I like what Donald Hall wrote, especially since I prefer to write as I am moved to write, as he said Roethke and Pound did.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.
You pass the sobriety test.

Clovers of four before your door.