Monday, March 01, 2004

On Hotel Point, John Latta:
        Some days I think all poetry should be made predominantly of ideas.

Puzzling implications: Are objects in verse ever not ideas?; What does such a claim say about Affect, Passion and Being Happy?; Aren't ideas things in themselves?; How is a subject a subject in poetry?; "Some days" implies choice, authority, whim...what about it?; How far have we come learning to discuss the phenomenology of the visible and invisible--what is predominant--in verse?

I am acutely aware that most of the poet-critical work accomplished in American poetry since the turn of the 20thC has been an effort to ask questions synonymous to mine above. Nevertheless, since language poetry, SF Renn, NY School, Black Mtn, many profs, students and writers assume the conversation has moved on to something other than a focus on language and structure. A lot of us reader-writers have taken to finding ways to weave through the loom of our own experience centuries old conversations. Not like Eliot looking back for a way to stabilize the foundation of a so-called "Pantheon", but like Olson using Maximus or O'Hara using things in an apartment to locate ideas and work in a field of ideas and works. The rupture that exists between justifying each task and a possibly crumbling, tattered human project and justifying nothing but the writing head hurts, gotta think for awhile about this.

I wonder if our capacity to choose to write predominantly with or from ideas or to write in a manner detached from rhetoric is at all possible. The gesture seems to me fantastic and, if accomplished, a form of anamorphosis--something done virtually. If so, then are we not more dependent on a reader's acceptance of our persona than we often believe we need to be?


Latta also picked up a very cool collection of Olson correspondence. Worth every penny: any Olson correspondence is, actually. Letters for Origin, I like quite a bit; but, as I have mentioned elsewhere, the 10 volumes of his conversations with Creeley are my companions. Friendship.

Also: In Love, in Sorrow, a collection of Edward Dahlberg and Olson corresponding.


JL: "Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff: A Modern Correspondence, Edited by Ralph Maud and Sharon Thesen, and with an Introduction by Sharon Thesen (Wesleyan University Press, 1999).

Gearing up for another brave attempt to jumpstart more than a passing interest in Big Max Olson."

I would be into reading and writing about Maximus and letters; writing about the reading...what with all of the umbrist, parsnip, dagging, and singular reading going on, it might be good for community sake to read and discuss together (?) ...


I am looking forward to meeting Steve Evans and Jennifer Moxley this week. See you both Thursday evening.

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