10 ago. 2011

Creeley on Vendler

This is brilliant in so many ways. What a way of deflecting criticism:
Is Helen Vendler's characterization of your work, that "things are wasted, faded, faint, trembling, wavering, blurred, darkening" and that yours is a "way of avoiding bathos" consistent with how you see your writing? I take objection to her statement that your writing style is "fatally pinched." Thank you kindly for your reply.
Bev -- NJ
I sure know what Helen Vendler is referring to. We both come from the Boston area, like they say, and "fatally pinched" is all too insistent a prospect if you have what my mother called a "lower middle class" status and all. I think it's taken real time to manage a passage through the early years of my life, coming of age in WWII, feeling very inadequate to the world as I found it, growing up fatherless, one eyed, and so on. Yet I was lucky in that solutions, if that's the word, seemed to keep coming at very unexpected moments—like just now being hired at Brown at age 77. That's happy! Or getting an unexpected scholarship to Holderness School at 14 because my sister Helen had persuaded my mother, the Acton, Mass town nurse, to apply for me. Anyhow Helen Vendler is not out to get me—she has other work to do—and my writing is not her interest. I don't not read her critical work therefore—I just haven't, but I know from her students, those I've met, she's a classically inspiring teacher with, expectably, very strong opinions. I liked her very much when we met and had a necessary time together a year ago—it was a pleasure just that I felt so simply at home with her.

I wish I could be so magnanimous about people who criticize Creeley.

2 comentarios:

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

I don't think he's deflecting criticism. He's saying that everyone has a role: his is to write, Vendler's is to think and speak about writing. She is under no obligation to like his work. I wonder if the desire to have everyone share one's enthusiasm for this or that writer isn't really an ego thing—not about the writer at all. It seems to me that Creeley's demonstrating an admirable lack of egotism in reaction to Vendler's honest response to his work. Anyway, thanks for the link to the whole interview. It's full of good thinking!

Jonathan dijo...

Deflecting in the sense of redirecting, sending it in a different, more productive direction. I agree about the lack of ego here. That's something I would like to emulate.