5 sept. 2007

"That poetry often hides its light in a bushel of serviceable prose ligatures is something we tend less to forget than work at banishing from our minds intentionally. Just as to some, the writings of an Ammons or an Ashbery offend by thrusting the sentence, already fronting the poet’s insensate thought, further along toward its proscenium’s edge, at times by adopting the hectoring tone of a lecturer and at others by simply extending lines from the page’s far-left margin all the way to the far right. We easily lose sight of how near to the fourteener’s margin of errancy much traditional verse routinely strays, and that does not exclude poems in which metrical regularity is not so much a disguise as the formal donning of a masque (no, that’s not a spelling error) by other means."

To which I say "huh"? From the awkward syllepsis of the "we tend less to forget than work..." construction, to the sentence fragment that follows (which we don't know is a sentence fragment until the end, when we don't find the end to the "just as..." simile); to the inept metaphor of traditional verse straying "near" to the "margin of errancy" of the fourteener--this passage has about as many stylistic flaws as you could fit in 50 or 75 words.

What does this mean? What's the difference between "the formal donning of a masque" and "a disguise." Can one "don" a "masque" as easily as a mask?

I don't get the "to some...offend" construction either. You don't "offend to" someone in English.

Who the fuck is offended by a margin? I've never seen it happen.

In what sense does a sentence "front" a poet's thought? Does it adjoin it, or advance it money, or cover up an illegitimate business? What is the "it" of "its proscenium's edge"? The sentence, the thought? I get that the page is a stage, metaphorically, but I don't know why having a hectoring tone pushes one toward the edge of this stage.

Where are this writer's "serviceable prose ligatures"? Under what bushel are they hidden? (I'm trying to picture a bushel of ligatures.) Why should someone who can't pass freshman English be qualified to write about "prose," let alone verse?

Sorry this does not deserve a link.

5 comentarios:

Bronwen dijo...


Joseph Duemer dijo...

But there is worse yet to come:

"Hard as it might be not to sacrifice intimacy when steering an off-road vehicle chuffing dodecasyllabics, Sidney was clearly one to essay such multi-tasking."

The fake bonhomie hits you like a wave of halitosis from a stranger in a bar.

Jonathan dijo...

Yeah. It seems like he never met a mixed metaphor, a solecism, or a cliché he didn't like.

Elisa dijo...

school of stupitude. oh my.

Matt Walker dijo...

"Who the fuck is offended by a margin? I've never seen it happen."

The only time I'm offended by a margin is when I can't tell if a poem I'm looking at is a prose poem whose right margin isn't justified, or a "regular" poem with long lines that just happen to stretch to the margin.

And I'm not really offended, just irritated.