Friday, June 25, 2004

unquiet stomach

"The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass." --Oscar Wilde

Thanks Tony Tost for the kind recommendation. Tost has a good blog going himself and addresses some concerns I will no doubt re-address as soon as Josh seems to have time--me too, I guess--in this post.

It is not only disingenuous to claim "there is no money in poetry" (as Tost offers,) it takes a fact (poetry is not money; money is not poetry; neither exchange as use values) and conflates it with it with a myth (poets are scrappy; poets are ascetics; poets are mystics; poets are humble.) We would like to be set with cash. All of us, no doubt would be happier without bills, the oft-empty fridge. Poetry occupies a weird space, I think, because of something Emerson points to in his essay "The Poet" (see my post below for the exact quote.) The poet's work is a vehicle not a home. The poet is a vagabond by trade. Those who fetter themselves through indentification with a social class--poor, and all its romantic patronizations--are seeking a home, an institution, and are enemies of the evolution of poetry because--conscious or not-- they seek to freeze poetry and the poet, to place the poet and the poet's work in a social class that can be super-examined, classified, paid. Of course, this is the goal of statist poetry: the poet laureates serve this function: to find a place for poetry to be put in. We have always admired the poet's consistent and ungraspable other-ness: the poet, who releases intellect, who uplifts through defiance of form. Something about an always full stomach contradicts the dissatisfaction a poet takes with the reality of things. Nevertheless, a full stomach is desired, helpful, and good.

Poetry that comes from the stomach comes from an always affected--anemic and anorexic--poet.

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