Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Other forms of tissue paper...

In response to this post by Scoplaw:

You absorptives just don't get it! We anti-absorptives aren't interested in "real people", "trapped in bad situations", in the "human drama", all that cloying claptrap! We're interested in employing our vocabulary to jiggle with your synapses and make you see, hear, feel in a totally fresh, new way! And if you can't appreciate what we're doing, to hell with you! At the same time, you ought to respect us, esteem us, and in the end, applaud us, because we're cool. We're hip to what you're doing even if you're not hip to us, in that way we're superior. So come on board and join us, we're it and we want you to be with it too, which is, of course, what we're doing. It's all for the good of poetry, right? It's all in the name of keeping it contemporary, right? What's that expression on your face?! OK! Stay in the dark if you want to! Shut up!


Anonymous said...

This nicely draws out the occasional rude undertones of those who call for "difficult" poetry of various kinds.

One reason that I am often offended by such arguments is that they condescend to me, as if my current taste for poets like Frost or Wilbur discredits me.

I often want to say: "Hey, I like Geoffrey Hill and Paul Celan, too; aren't they difficult? And I have translated some quite 'non-absorptive' German poets, so I know what I am talking about when I discuss such approaches."

But there's no point; my taste for Frost and Wilbur makes me appear absurd in the condescenders' eye,

Anonymous said...

Here's a much better version of the same comment, from a poem I just read by Jane Hirshfield called "Poe: An Assay": "His stories were not intended for the canine heart that howls inside us, / though he fed it the tidbits it needed to stay near."

Too many defenses of "non-absorptive poetry" forget about the "tidbits" needed to feed "the canine heart," and I love Celan and enjoy Hill because both of them are very conscious of the presence of that heart.

Brian Campbell said...

Poor canine heart, only getting tidbits. Seems to me it should be fed whole poets.

Personally I find the terms Josh comes up with so ugly I wouldn't want to write either "absorptive" or "non-absorptive" poetry. Imagine getting out of bed and saying, "I think I'm going to write some absorptive poetry today!"

Anonymous said...

The tag quote from the interview with Claudia Emerson on Poetry Daily's "News" page right now starts like this:

Instead of 'accessibility,' we might also aspire for 'clarity' and then strive for, instead of 'difficulty,' 'complexity.'

Those are much better words! :-)

Brian Campbell said...

Indeed, they are.