27 mar. 2007

The avant-garde is radically traditional, oriented toward the past. A poem by Lorca resembles a medieval lyric from the cancionero tradition. All the great modern poets look backwards. Pound turns his eye to the Troubadors, to the T'ang dynasty, toward Calvacanti. Cavafy toward the Hellenistic age. Rilke toward Orpheus. Eshleman recreates the paleolithic. I could give many more examples. Perse? Eliot? Neruda's Machu Picchu? Lezama's "eras imaginarias"? Heidegger's presocratics?

The suburban mode of American Creative Writing, in contrast, is devoted to a banal presentism.

4 comentarios:

Jordan dijo...

Where would you put Chaucer, Browning, Whitman, Williams, Koch, Padgett, Notley, Mayer....

Jonathan dijo...

I'd put them in my ipod, my personal pantheon, I guess. (Not too crazy about Browning, though...) Koch seems greater than Williams or Whitman. to me, today.

Jesse Crockett dijo...

I totally live in the past. You might dig my poems. I don't talk much about Orpheus, or Herodotus, tho.

Johannes dijo...

I think in this instance there might be some use in distinguishing between high modernism and the avant-garde. High modernism is frequently obsessed with the historical, while the avant-garde tends to want to burn down the museums (a differnet kind of obsession with the past). I don't think anybody has ever claimed that Rilke was avant-garde. However, he might be a modernist.