Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Viva la résistance!

I wrote something today. Another in the history series. Most of them have started with no titles. When I'm done I read back over them and find they fit perfectly in the series. Isn't that weird?

I'm reading Jame Longenbach's The Resistance to Poetry (2004, University of Chicago Pr. ISBN 0226492494). I won't go into everything he's discussed, but I will say he really is putting into context some of those things I didn't know I was doing. Like line lengths (Am I Williams or Pound?), disjunction of ideas/images and unreliable voices (Louise Gluck is apparently the master of this). These are things I should think about this year and refine I think, not necessarily change how I use them, but become more aware of why I use them and maybe not use them where it's not working.

I've also more or less decided to do my reading package on the nature of language, i.e. essays, poems, stories around the unreliablity of words. I find it kind of interesting that some people are so obsessed with using words as exact nuggets of reference when it seems to me they are never static. I think there is enough controversy in there to get a discussion going. Should writers subvert the meanings of words, should they reinforce the meaning? Longenbach summed it up very nicely in a balanced way, which I think is the way I would like to approach it, but I'm sure there must be other critics out there who are poles apart on this.

I read something the other day about how poets veer away from abstract words because they signify combinations of less complex words and therefore poets use simple, solid, saxon words. Not true really unless you classify poets as Williams and his followers. I can't quite remember where I read it though. Shit.

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