13 jul. 2006

Class notes

Modernity in poetry means looking for a particular tradition in the past. It's deeply traditional, radical in its search for
roots. That's why it has that super-erudite, scholarly dimension. Blame Ezra Pound. Or Robert Duncan.

García Lorca was something of a scholar of folklore. Not a very good one in the scholarly sense, but with good intuitions, a good understanding of what he was looking for and why it was important. Valente was quite a good scholar of Spanish mysticism. Claudio Rodríguez wrote a master's thesis on children's songs; not that far away in spirit from Lorca's lecture on Spanish lullabies (nanas).

The invention of an imagined past. That's typical of American poets. Schwerner, Pound. Eshleman in his caves. The poet-scholar is a very powerful model up to this day. We worry so much our culture is insufficient that we end up overcompensating. One can imagine someone becoming a sinologist under the influence of Pound, and then, of course, knowing vastly more Chinese than Pound ever did. I was about to say that Pound was the first American poet to be academic specialist in Romance languages, but I was forgetting about Longfellow.

1 comentario:

Javier dijo...

Yes. That's right. But they were looking for and hungry for a particularly "live" tradition. There were searching "a flame". And that is not a joke, that is not a "cultural game" as we see nowadays in "ellipticisms" and other tinkerers of
very clever poetical toys. Now, in spanish poetry, it abounds "cleverism" without risks in all shapes and sizes and colours. What a pity.