17 ago. 2005
It reminds me of when Gary Snyder, protesting Japan's ecological policies, called Japan, in a poem, "a once great Buddhist nation." At what point in the history of Japan could this have been true? Maybe during the endless armed conflicts of the feudal period? During the Second World War? Japan has been a "great nation," and a Buddhist nation, but it seems obscene to associate Japanese nationalism with any positive sense of Buddhism. If he's saying, "The Japanese used to govern their country by Buddhist principles, and look, now they're killing whales," this is profoundly wrong in any relevant historical sense. It's not that I hate Gary Snyder: I just hate the idea that "poets" qua poets are associated with this particular kind of statement. That goes for the profound and beautiful femininity of the earth as well. Anybody can say something stupid. But poets shouldn't embarrass the guild by doing it in poems. Often a profoundly dumb statement will be found in a poem that isn't very good to begin with, so what's the point?