2 ago. 2005

I might be an asshole and a great poet.
I might be a great guy and and a great poet.
I might be an asshole and a lousy poet.
I might be a great guy and a lousy poet.

Or any combination in between. In most cases there will be flawed human beings writing flawed poetry, not monster genuises or saintly genuises or talentless saints. There is really no inherent correlation between my general worth as a human being and how good my poetry is. The work is not me. I'm thnking of how Gary Sullivan responded to various reviews of his comic book recently. Some got what he was trying to do and gave him high marks. Others were not as comprehending and criticized various aspects of it. Obviously one is happier with good reviews than bad, but I didn't see Gary claiming that the less complimentary reviews were done by evil hypocritical snobs. That's how I would like to respond to criticism of my work, if I am mature enough by the time any book of mine appears. If someone doesn't like it or get it, ultimately they can't be bullied into it. And this bullying creates a climate in which no discussion is possible.

UPDATE: Kent Johnson asks me to clarify. I wasn't talking about Kent's reactions to reviews of his own work, but solely about Chris Daniel's review, which I took to be bullying, as did Gary S. I took the position that anyone should be embarrassed to be writen about like that. Kent, while not embarrassed by the review, does not subscribe to any view I might have imputed to him in the post above, by implication.

2 comentarios:

C. Dale dijo...

I really do believe, though I cannot explain it well, that poems are made things and, therefore, even if they tell us something about the concerns of the writer, it isn't a window to the writer. I have, at several times in my life, met poets and have been completely shocked--at their personality and the basic way they carry themselves through life--because I thought their poems told me something about them. One such poet had been an idol of mine because his work seemed large, breathtaking, beautiful, dark, complicated, painful. I just felt this man had to be an angel of sorts. In life, he was an absolute asshole! After I met him, I was dumbfounded. I couldn't believe he had written all of those poems of his. That said, I was also 21 and just didn't know much about poets. But it was a good lesson.

Patry Francis dijo...

I think the angel must have existed somewhere in this poet, but angels are highly susceptible to corruption. Sometimes an excessively glorified angel becomes an asshole. Occupational hazard for angels maybe?