23 oct. 2007

Ron kicks Simic's ass

Yet there is a problem here. A really good article on Creeley's career would have to deal with the problems. While I have Creeley poems I love in every volume he ever published, there is a different kind of reading necessary to deal with later works in which there is too great a diffusion. It cannot be a triumphalist account, but an account that confronts this issue. The late Ashbery and the late Creeley are still poets that are better than almost anyone else, yet not as consistently good as they once were. There is a kind of diffusion of energy. It is not that Creeley became too experimental, but the opposite, that he settled into a comfortable style.

I would enjoy reading 1,500 pages of Creeley, but part of the process of reading would be to pick out the 80 pages I really want to read. I wouldn't enjoy reading the 80 pages that someone else had picked out for me, nearly as much.

9 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

Your four-word summary of Silliman's critique of Simic's review highlights what bothered me about RS's piece: while RS did do a good job of dissecting CS's RC essay, he also spent far too much time attacking CS himself in ways that I felt really detracted from RS's points.

To put it another way, I wish RS had concentrated on CS's essay, rather than CS's ass.

That said, I like your point: there is a really good article to be written that will address the problems in RC's work, especially in the later work, when the intensity ebbs.

Jonathan dijo...

Yes, but Simic badly needed a verbal beat-down. Did the man ever write a memorable line?

Andrew Shields dijo...

I don't agree that a poet deserves to be personally attacked if you think he has not written any memorably poetry.

"I was stolen by the gypsies." There, it's a memorable line, because I remember it.

Jonathan dijo...

He deserved to be called on what he wrote. It's not personal: it's an attack on his ideas, his words. That Simic is not a memorable poet is relevant in that he has no basic understanding of Creeley's poetics.

Andrew Shields dijo...

Is the value of the reviewer's poetry relevant to a review? If the reviewer's poetry shows that the reviewer is an inappropriate reviewer, then it might be worth mentioning a discrepancy between the reviewer's style and the reviewee's style in evaluating a review, but the memorability of the reviewer's poetry is irrelevant. (I am intentionally saying "memorability" and not "quality" because you said that Simic is not memorable.)

I should add that I am not a great Simic fan, and I did not like the Creeley review much either, but I did feel that Silliman reviewed Simic the person too much, rather than Simic's review.

Jonathan dijo...

There's a whole dimension to Creeley's writing that never appears in Simic's own poetry. Simic's poetry is completely innocent of this quality, and as a book reviewer he is also insensitive to it when he is confronted with it in Creeley. Call it for the sake of discussion Creeleytas. The quidditas that is Creeley. How can that not be relevant? If Simic's poetry also had wonderful qualities x, y, and z, then you could forgive him maybe for missing Creeley's w and u. But no, Simic writes a poetry without memorable qualities at all. Is this an ad homimen fallacy? To me it's highly relevant. Did Silliman make the attack personal? Aside from the comment about the accent, I'm not seeing it. Though I'm not going to go back and read and see if I missed something about how Simic mistreats animals, etc...

Conservatiive mediocrities criticizing someone like Creeley should be mercilessly skewered. That's called the Mayhew doctrine.

Seriously though, maybe Ron did go too far this time. I am disturbed by the explanation some have given that maybe Simic didn't get Creeley because he's a foreigner who doesn't get the American idiom well enough.

Andrew Shields dijo...

I was thinking about Poe in the light of our discussion. (Perhaps because that's where RS got the phrase "school of quietude.") When his contemporaries criticized Poe, his defenders (if he had any) surely would counter such criticisms by talking about how mediocre the critics' own work was.

But in that light, I also wondered whether such a critique of the reviewer actually serves as a defense of the reviewee. That is, the merciless skewering that you call for may or may not be justified (I also noted the bit about the accent, which was totally off base), but it does not actually serve the cause of defending Creeley.

Or does it? Does discrediting Simic here serve as a defense of Creeley? I don't see how it does.

Jonathan dijo...

It doesn't really serve to defend Creeley that much. At best it's an indirect effect. I'd rather read Perloff on Creeley than Ron's counter to Simic.

Andrew Shields dijo...

Without having read her work on him, I'd bet Perloff on Creeley is the best response to any misunderstanding of Creeley.