6 mar. 2009

This just seems "off" to me. It's a list of 40 contemporary American writers who have had the most influence on Ron Silliman. For me a profound influence is profound, discernible in the writing itself, or somthing that actually makes a difference that could be defined. Say someone wrote a different way after reading a particular poet. Much as I like Ron's poetry, it is simply not that multi-dimensional, despite its length. It does one or two things well. Or even, for the sake of argument, let's say it does a half-dozen things. The sheer number of names on this list precludes the average influence (say the 40th most profound influence out of 80) from being very profound at all. Given that this is just the list of women and more than half of his profound influences are probably in the masculine gender. it's like saying that someone is your 80th best friend. Such a diluted concept becomes virtually meaningless.

I'm also assuming that not all writers we like and admire will actually have any real lasting influence on us. I've written a book on Lorca but I can't say that I've been influenced by Lorca. (Ojalá que no fuera así, although I generally think of being influenced by Lorca as a bad thing.) For me, the ratio is something like one in fifty. So even assuming Ron is more of a sponge, soaking up influences right and left, it's probably safe to say that this is more like "Writers Ron admires or approves of and wants to be thought of in association with."

1 comentario:

John dijo...

Aren't all such lists really lists of writers one "admires or approves of and wants to be thought of in association with"?

Lists always embarrass me. Exactly because of that factor. I'm always curious to see other people's lists, because I learn from them and also because I'm a voyeur.

All such lists enumerate one's limitations. Maybe that's what embarrasses me. Confronting my own limitations.