[lit-ideas] Re: SOS - Poeitic Power

  • From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2006 11:20:46 -0400

Lawrence: When someone writes a poem that seems autobiographical or confessional, is he being objective in the sense of being true to external (objective) reality, or is he creating something unique? And if he is creating something unique is it a true something or a warped something? And if a warped something, is that his bent? Is he thereby warping himself down a crooked rabbit hole? One can, as Taylor quotes Pico in his oration to say, create ourselves in whichever way we like.


One can also be confessional in bad faith. "Confessional" is a style and nothing more. I remember listening to Nicole Blackman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Blackman) read a "confessional" poem about incest at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe. After the reading a woman went up to her and said that Blackman's poem had helped her a lot, that it was good to hear of a fellow incest survivor's experience redeemed by art.


"Never happened to me," Blackman said coldly, "I made it all up." Blackman turned and walked away from the woman.

Nice, eh? If there was a confession in the poem, it was of an elusive self capable of simulating other selves while aggressively avoiding real contact. A crooked rabbit hole like the one in Kafka's "The Burrow."

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