29 abr. 2005

A great rant from Jordan this morning.

Yes, the Kantian imperative: you must not only have the experience yourself, but feel that this experience is valid for others as well. That's why "taste" is not a "personal" matter. No, you don't have a right to your own taste, I've always said. This gets me into trouble, but I mean no harm: If taste were personal, you wouldn't have millions of screaming fans. Taste is always collective, even if the collective is only two people, a "folie à deux."

7 comentarios:

Henry Gould dijo...

Good point - but this is why poets should leave the hustle for "cultural capital" alone.

The Federalists came up against this problem - they called it "sovereignty". Who was in charge - the states or the nat'l gov't? People gave years of their lives to this headache - the competitive scramble of "interest".

The Federalists solved it : sovereignty rested in the People as a whole, not in any particular condensation of gov't offices.

Poets should leave sovereignty to the Reader, & damn interest, self-interest included. I don't quite agree with Jordan's Freudian analysis of motivation. If taste is objective & universal, it cannot be spun. Make yourself laugh & the crowd will laugh with you. Forget about the politics of "prompts" & publishers. It will only make you choke up on stage.

Henry Gould dijo...

Ron's whole argument is that the game is rigged.

This is the kind of argument that leaves less time for the reading & writing of poetry.

Play fair yourself & damn the torpids.

& sorry I brought that up.

Jonathan dijo...


So poets will never do anthologies, reviews, interviews, publishing, will wash their hands of the entire business. But then how is poetry to wend its way to the sovereign reader? Through gatekeepers who are not themselves poets? That might be even worse than the present system. There was a time when Norton was hip to Sorrentino and Ronald Johnson, but no longer. Where would we be without Cid Corman's Origin?

Henry Gould dijo...

Poets, thank goodness, will continue to do these things, based on energy & yes, interest!

But there's no point in trying to systematize the literature industry according to good taste! Even Castro could never manage that!

It can only be done on the level of criticism itself - practiced with talent, probity & creative ingenuity.

So let the critics take care of it, & relax (unless you happen to be a poet-critic!).

Am I PRATING again??? sorry...

Jonathan dijo...


Agreed. I wouldn't even know how to start systematizing the literary system according to good taste. Sounds creepy!

Henry Gould dijo...

Little mags & independent presses - where'd we be without them? Without Whitman & Dickinson self-publishing? (We'd be Melville, ignored, neglected.)

Problems arise when the little independents get secure & flabby enough to expend gas on how much better they are than the benighted Establishment. A sure sign that they are becoming established.

Henry dijo...

I've found a way to comment without showing my face every time. sorry about that! I will be quiet now, I promise!