Monday, March 16, 2009


you know the subject, a writer must provide herself/himself the room to not know, to discover upon careful consideration the "thing" haunting them. it is then, when combined with the individual heart, or mind song that the living poem is created. everything else is abstraction, and however well considered will not speak to the soul of the reader/listener - and therefore will burn away from page and memory after(upon) the initial sharing.

you will read it aloud. and it will vanish. the audience may remember how well(or not) it was performed. the audience may even remember lines, or memorable phrases. but it will not last in time. it will cease to exist until performed again.

criticism is not a circumscription of a set of prohibitions. it provides a fixed point/s of departure. it may startle a dull reader into alertness.

lets deal with the notion of the "dull" reader-
while Ezra Pound wrote the above in 1911 - the qoute is more relevant now than ever. the advancement of technology has placed close reading at a premium. 
(just so that you are aware, the strategy call "close reading" was used by a racist and sexist academy to keep people of color, and women out.) 
we are not discussing in this essay the historic New Critics, but the absolute nature of a strict "dialogue" with a text. reading cover to cover. leaving your subjective interpretation at home with Granny's Bible, and gleaning all that you need to critique/understand a piece of writing to the actual words written. no metaphor, no allusion brought in by you- the reader.

(we could go on, but i trust you to make bridges where i cannot dear reader! dialogue!)

since schools are vastly underfunded, understaffed etc. - the miles of intellectual fabric- the stuff that made American Modernism such a force of nature was the strength/existence of the public intellectual. the schools of (wo)men who worked with their hands  being closet bibliophiles. entertainment was reading. the world wanted to be modern, and so ideas were Manna. it was that love of reading that made its way down the rabbitthole of the generati so to speak. the list, although Canonical for the most part is a world treasure, and spans the last century. when you toss in a world perspective of this list it begins to overwhelm you(today's seeker) in regards to what/who you should read.

*(bonus question - worth 50 meta-points)
who do you read first? Beckett, Borges, Joyce, or Pound? wait? Cervantes?

many hold the false notion that one must read everything "important". this is a dangerous conceit, and although there is some merit in the sentiment it is sentiment, and sets up a faux barrier for most readers, and allows for old academic definitions to play.

what happens then is -
generations of new writers(keyword NEW) come, but the new reader dwindles leaving fewer folks to sustain the new writer, who becomes jaded by the lack of readership, which breeds a lack of publishing opportunities. which keeps "old" voices in power. 
it always comes back to power, but that is another essay, a fight for another sun.

in the limited public imagination and destroys any potential for a new list represented by the diversity of this, a new century. of course this is the simplified argument/timeline, of course there are other concerns, but the fact of the matter is- 
the less readers, the less good writers
the less good writers, the less good writing
the less good writing, the less good and interested readers
the less readers, the less publications that publish new writing.

the less publications, a lessor public voice.
a lessor public voice, a democracy, a republic shifts
the shift brings world contempt.
greed, faux Presidents  .  .  . 

what must a new writer do?

*(bonus question answer)
depends on if you wish to have a history lesson as well.
if you reading strictly for pleasure- the choice is yours.
if you are reading in a linear fashion, i.e. historically driven - Pound, for Dear silly Ezra discover, and supported at least 15 writers on "THE CANONICAL LIST".
and you can't even support one. 
shame, shame.

1 comment:

Lindy Loo said...

So this means you've given up on your ban on being a "new reader" then? =)