24 feb. 2006

Debate in the comments: Rothenberg's notion of the "deep image," derived from Lorca and then popularized by Bly, is "orientalist" in a way that Spicer's After Lorca is not. Spicer is almost completely free of "españoladas," of folkloric elements derived from conventional notions of "Romantic Spain." I expect to have 77 comments in the next 24 hours to match Silliman's flarf post. But no bores need apply.

12 comentarios:

Mike H dijo...

I think After Lorca was more about Spicer's relationship to Lorca's work. Bly took a few aspects of Lorca's work and plugged them into his doctrine. After Lorca is more readable certainly than Bly's Lorca translations, though the context for both of them is different. Lorca's work and ideas seem easily cooptable though they're not. That said the self-dramatization in his work feeds that a little.

Henry Gould dijo...

1. Must we have these endless Sillimanesque ratings (team scores) & comparisons of apples & oranges?

2. Orientalism was (in its very strict & very academic definition) an imperialist phenomenon. Bly's imitations are a provincial phenomenon. Let's not use one form of self-hatred to flagellate a completely separate form of self-delusion for the sake of a 3rd version of low self-esteem.

3. there are some great art reviews in the arts section of the Friday NY Times.

Henry Gould dijo...

4. Lorca deserved the kitsch Bly imitations; why? because he played up the local color himself.

Why? to escape Spain's provincialism & low self-esteem. to be "modern".

Henry Gould dijo...

do I know what I'm talking about? No.

I don't know why Lorca listened to gypsy music.

Maybe he was following the sound of "duende".

Jonathan dijo...

I said no bores need apply.

Just kidding. I never said that orientalist versions of Lorca were worse or better; I'm just marking the difference.

Joseph Duemer dijo...

I'm with Mr. Gould here, mostly. I like American folksongs & have been influenced by them in my poetry. I suppose that makes me Americanist. I also like Vietnamese folksongs & that no doubt makes me Orientalist. Fuck it. You find your juice where you find your juice & you know what? Poetry doesn't care. Poetry just wants to be poetry. Every borrowing does violence to the original, distorts the original. And, Jesus, aren't Lorca's Gypsy Ballads wonderful works of art?

What would Japanese literature be without its borrowings from & misunderstanding of Chinese literature? And what about Pound's Cathy? Speaking only for myself, I am not willing to sacrifice "The River Merchant's Wife" on the bloody alter of political correctness.

In Calvino's novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, there are two sisters, Ludmilla & Lotaria. Ludmilla reads only to be carried away; Lotaria only to fit every text into a theory. Surely, the best readings fall somewhere between these two characters, but if I have to choose, I'l marry Ludmilla, not her cold-blooded sister.

Nick dijo...

What about Pound's _Cathy_, indeed! My favorite among his more personal works......

Bly's deep image is about Bly's (poorly thought out) critique of modernity in the context of Vietnam, no? But as for Rothenberg: primitivism is a subspecies of orientalism--or vice versa? discuss....

Jonathan dijo...

I don't see orientalism as a completely bad thing. I just think it has to be recognized where it does exist.

Henry Gould dijo...

Jonathan, the issue here is not "orientalism". It's the motive of your post. Why are you puffing Spicer by comparing him with Bly, for an "orientalism" which Bly can be forgiven, since his own (Duluth, Minnesotam Iron John Hockey - I know it well) culture is far more provincial & sad than Lorca's - & since Lorca himself played up the kitsch folkloric elements which inspired Bly?

What does this all have to do with whether we should like Spicer more than Bly?

I like all 3 of them.

Jonathan dijo...

All I said in my post was "then popularized by Bly." That is a factual statement, not an insult, unless you think all popularization is an outrage. The motive of my post was to make distinctions between different uses of Lorca in the U.S. context, in the context of my article on apochryphal translations of Lorca by Creeley, Koch, and Spicer, among others.. Was or was not Bly the main popularizer of the idea of the "deep image"? Spicer does not need to be "puffed" by me. I don't think that his work is great because it is free from "españoladas." I just believe that he was writing before this particular popularization took shape.

Why get defensive about Bly? If you think it is even an open question about "whether we should like Spicer more than Bly" you have lost me. I don't really care whether you like Bly or not. But if you do like him, you need to bring a better argument than the fact that he is sad and provincial.

Henry Gould dijo...

Jonathan,

you're pretending that "orientalist" is not a loaded term, on a par with sexist, racist, etc., and that to apply it comes close to being, if not quite being, an insult. You yourself set the terms of praise/blame - the terms of the comparison Bly/Spicer. & you asked for debate specifically about that: whether Rothenberg's concept & Bly's popularization were not a species of orientalism.

I argued that orientalism is a label applied to imperial-culture assumptions about a foreign "other", and that Bly's practice is more accurately described as an effect of provincialism rather than cosmopolitanism : & that his & Lorca's motives for this kind of "music" are curiously similar.

Rothenberg seemed less interested in the "deep image" as a species of the romantic or exotic, than as a genuinely different mode of poetic practice, which could be learned & appropriated. This is not exactly orientalism either.

I'm only doing what you asked : trying to get this string up to 77 comments for you.

Jonathan dijo...

Fair enough, but I would never equate orientalism with racism, and I admire Rothenberg quite a bit. I see orientalism as a problematic but perhaps unavoidable feature of any response of the West to anything Eastern--the Eastern in this case being Lorca's interest in gypsy culture. Images of a Romantic Spain by French and German Romantics are orientialist too, I believe. If I had a better word than that I would use it.

Thanks for doing your part toward the 77 comments.