6 jul. 2005

{lime tree}: Goodman's Graces.

Of course, this debate on poetic merit seems wholly secondary to the real question of preventing the supreme court from going Christian right, but I did formulate a response:

I see Kasey's point, and I'm sure he's sincere in seeing the quality of sprezzatura in Goodman's poetry. I know Goodman has other admirers, like the composer Ned Rorem, who has set some Paul Goodman texts. To me, however, this particular poem, like many of Goodman's poems, illustrates nearly the opposite: making something that should be easy look difficult and strained, impossibly botched. I just can't feel this quality of easy grace in Goodman. On the other hand, this shows that the vocabulary of literary criticism is so far from being "technical" that there are no descriptors with a shared meaning. "Elegant" can mean "awkward in an insouciant manner" to one person and nearly the opposite to someone else. I do agree that PG is not in O'Hara's league, and that FO'H is elegant in the way Kasey describes. I also like the Goodman poem as a political statement, but I feel--and I'm exaggerating but just barely--that almost any change in it might be a poetic improvement. For example, the word "bugs" seems totally off to me. Bureaucrats DEMAND or REQUIRE that people sign loyalty oaths. The entire poem lacks that sense of inevitability. Of course if it had a reactionary message to it I wouldn't hesitate to trash it even more: the message carries the poem, something I also hate to see.

If it were almost any other blogger I would be confident of my opinion, but I fear, since it is my second favorite blogger Kasey, that it is I who am missing something here. I've hit the brick wall of my own limited "taste." I can't like this poem.

2 comentarios:

Laura Carter dijo...

Are you your own first favorite blogger? Or is it Tony R?

Jonathan dijo...


It's not me. I think Jordan Davis is my favorite of all time. I think he understands the diaristic form and that it suits his style. Kasey and Gary Sullivan are tied for 2nd place. They are great but sometimes go hours without posting. After that, it's hard to say. There are so many I like (including Tony) that I don't want to offend anyone. By the way, I am my own 6th favorite blogger, approximately, right ahead of Ron Silliman.