Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I am going to be in Nietzsche mode until July 8th

__I see Snider, at his sonnetarium, is busy trashing those who don't read meter in the traditional sense.

__Poetry is not written for the meter; it isn't verse because it has a recognizable count and beat; the meter comes from the poetry. No poetry without language. Why not screw with it; trip it up; find out what comes about when language speaks? A good sestina conforms as does a haiku; the excellent examples simply occur in that manner excellently.

__There is also no such thing as free verse. No matter how hard we push, language speaks. We're drivers.

__Any cute monkey can stupidly count meter, smoosh a line together, rhyme with practice, and maintain tradition--more importantly find him or herself in that tradition. In fact, any cuter monkey can name verse "verse" through recognition. Possibly a really intuitive border collie.

__And the aesthetics that derive from such dependent practices create a hierarchy of talent based not in any individual effort or experience, but in who can make a string of words in a line sound good. I need only look at Joan Houlihan to see how ridiculous criticism can become--she wants a line that means something for her and is not willing to work for meaning with an author. Simply. Dumb criticism. Pointless, in the sense that pointing in criticism should intend towards something the writer, reader, and critic have in common. Houlihan, and other critics (Himmelfarb for history) simply have a too comfortable existence relying on the past to present itself in the now.

__I have always enjoyed practicing with restrictions, but what good is a sonnet really? Who needs another poem in that form? Simply. Nobody but the author. Moreover, it is the common occurrence of the iamb, not the naming it at the correct time that is interesting, (as always imo not humble at all.) What does a formal prosody represent but an image that isn't based in reality, not even the everyday, but the tranquil tarrying along that theory does with the everyday? The minute prosody becomes for the verse, some lazy critic-fancied-a-poet made the simple switch that prescribes: now we hear quite a bit, especially from those opposed to the challenges that experimentations (Language, et al) bring, that verse is for prosody. The instant we give in to such reading strategies, poetry starves.


[comps reading, continues.]
I am finishing Birth of Tragedy today. Each time I read this book, I think Nietzsche was too harsh a self-critic. I like it; though he does not spend too much time legitimizing claims, he does make points worth exploring on our own. I'll do that on the 'zine later today or tonight with some of my favorites.

For this quote, I will insert PATRIOT for GREEK and AMERICA for NATURE; one might argue for UNITED STATES in place of AMERICA, but the US continues to co-opt and sell the former.

  • For now in every exuberant joy there is heard an undertone of terror, or else a wistful lament over an irrecoverable loss. It is as though in these PATRIOT festivals a sentimental trait of AMERICA were coming to the fore, as though AMERICA were bemoaning the fact of her fragmentation, her decomposition into separate individuals.
    (Golffing translation, 27)

Nietzsche's argument in Birth of Tragedy as an explanation of the US attack, from the right, on individual attempts to apprehend, access, and cultivate a principium individuationis after its conservative government instituted The P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, for example. Everything for the majority...A recreation of Good and Evil.

Heck, why not look at N informing US culture? Althusser did it with Hegel, Lenin & Freud. Anything is better than another William Saffire column.


Michael Snider said...

That's not Neitzche mode. He did some thinking before he ranted.

Gary Norris said...

once again, snider proves that he can dish out a tongue-lashing, abuse the folks he disagrees with, but can only handle an unsanitized rebut with an insult.

of course Mike is right, I never think about anything I post. i am naughty and unthoughtful and rude. i thought i answered your post in kind.

No matter, I stand firm on my opinion that counting meter properly is a ridiculous marker for getting verse.


As Frost said in a letter to John T. Bartlett,

"...if one is to be a poet [one] must learn to get cadences by skillfully breaking the sounds of sense with all their irregularity of accent across the regular beat of the meter. Verse in which there is nothing but the beat of the meter furnished by the accents of the polysyllabic words we call doggerel. Verse is not that. Neither is it the sound of sense alone. It is a resultant from those two. There are only two or three meters that are worth anything. We depend for variety on the infinite play of accents in the sound of sense. The high possibility of emotional expression all lets in this mingling of sense-sound and word-accent."

That makes (the-sound-of) sense to me. Too many cheeky monkeys are under Pound's delusion that they're "composing in the sequence of the musical phrase rather than the sequence of the metronome" Who did Pound think purchased metronomes? Painters? Any musician who plays for dancers knows the value of the steady beat. My student Alice Carr puts it this way, "If a poem were a band, metre would be the rocksteady bass and drums, emotion the soloing lead." Too many air guitarists out there. Noisy ones. No wonder the dance floor is empty.

PS Right. Who needs a sonnet? Who needs any poem?