5 sept. 2007

Ultimately I'm only interested in a poetry that tests my own limits of acceptability. So it's not a question of blandly accepting everything in a particular school. Take Kerouac. Not a poet I have an easy time accepting--

"I've T S Elioted all the fogs, / Faulknered all the stone, / Balanced nothing gainst something, / Played solitaire, smoked..." ("Desolation Blues")--

Just when you're getting ready to explain why it's bad, you realize that it is very good indeed. Think of all the poets who've never written a line as good as "Faulknered all the stone." (Probably you and most certainly I have never done so.) It's like being 14 all over again and reading "The houses are haunted / by white nightgowns" for the first time. It's a jolt. The window opens again and you realize what it's all about.

This constant testing of limits implies that aesthetic judgment is never suspended, even as its boundaries remain malleable. That is, the threat of the bad, that which cannot be accepted, remains ever present. It is a heightened sense of alertness. Maybe I'm the only one who reads like this, but this is my spin of the implications of Kasey's statement that "If there weren't people who 'didn't get it,' poetry would have no way to identify itself." Usually the one who isn't getting it, in a given situation, is me. Or only partially and skeptically getting it, even with some of my favorite poets.

That's not a criterion for good poetry, just the opposite. Every reader has zones of acceptability, and every interesting poet has zones where certain readers will feel discomfort. Put those two factors together and you have a lot of amazing things happening.

(link here to Kasey's post)

3 comentarios:

Casey dijo...

You're excited by poetry that flirts with heresy.

What does that say for lines that find themselves dead center in your "zone of acceptability?"

Are they both good and boring/uninteresting?

So supposedly your blog entry is not speaking of a "criteria for good poetry," but riveting poetry.

When does good but boring poetry become bad poetry?

Does the epicenter slowly shift or sometimes lurch out of place?

Is what invigorates us in poetry the constant dialectical war and interplay between canonical and uncanonical lines?

If this is true, can we then say that the only good poem for "me" is the poem that both stands in opposition to and affirms our previous persuasion?

Can we then say that you are speaking of a "criterion for good poetry."

Isn't good poetry "amazing" because of an underlying dualistic tension?

Thus, while this criterion for good poetry never changes, the form always will.

Jonathan dijo...

Poetry dead in the center is poetry I like, but not poetry that interests me.

It's not really a criterion for riveting poetry either, since the boundary is always shifting. It's a criterion for being interesting to me when it is in fact interesting.

Yes, the center does not not hold.

The canon is not relevant here.




Andrew Shields dijo...

I've been reading and re-reading (and post ing about) J. M. Coetzee, and one thing I have been thinking about the last few days is whether it might be true that JMC's novels (with the exception of "Disgrace") are actually "bad novels" (doing all sorts of things one is not supposed to do)—but still great books (getting away with those things).