7 feb. 2006

I've always liked this post, I am not my music's fault, by composer and bloggist Kyle Gann. It seems to me the exact right position to take. Of course, it doesn't work with poetry that takes a definite political position. We can't have poetry of such a musical purity that political questions will remain outside the discussion. I'm not sure what the "bracketing" rules should be. Should we blame the poem "Ode to an Onion" because its author, Neruda, was a Stalinist? Of course, the communist ideas are there, in the poem, too. It's not a question of depoliticizing it. Yet the poem also seems to escape that dimension, in that the author is putting the best face of his ideology forward. It seems a perfectly innocuous version of an ideology that also had very nocuous results. It's not the poem's fault that there was a gulag, that the author of the poem took pro-Gulag positions, etc... All we have is the humble onion, minding its own business, mildly symbolic of a better world to come and the author's sympathy with the working class. The onion never sent anyone to a concentration camp. Or did it? Can we celebrate Pound's happy little Confucian workers without seeing in them a metaphor for the fascist state?

Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain

So is Neruda cynically disguising his ideology, or transcending it by revealing its uncorrupted core?

2 comentarios:

Javierigl dijo...

That passage was celebrated by Zukofsky, disciple of Pound and a "red" poet.
Would Zukofsky know that "sun up:work..." was a "metaphor for the fascist state" or, when he quotes it, in a public defense of Pound in 1948, is he "trascending it by reavealing its uncorrupted core"?

Jonathan dijo...

Well, these lines sound almost Maoist. It's a totalitarian vision however you slice it.