[lit-ideas] Re: SUNDAY POEM

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 19:16:54 EST

Oh, Mike, you must read Balzac....  one thing, anything of his.
(Oh, and Lawrence -- you're exhibiting signs of humour AND  
stream-of-consciousness -- an unexpected and welcome development!).
Julie Krueger

========Original  Message========     Subj: [lit-ideas] Re: SUNDAY POEM  
Date: 1/15/2007 5:47:07 P.M. Central Standard Time  From: _atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
(mailto:atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   To: _lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
(mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)   Sent on:    
Good post, Eric, except that it's wrong.   Well, not wrong, really, just not 
quite right.  And what makes it not  quite right is that you intimate that 
poets shouldn't preach.  Well,  throw out half the Canon why don't you? 
Oops, sorry, Dante, you don't make  the cut.  Milton, hit the road, Bub. 
Emerson, Thoreau, Kipling,  sorry.  Blake, can't use you, Babe, too 
political.  And on and  on.  I do agree with you about Chaucer and 
Shakespeare (Balzac, I've  never read) -- except that both C and S quite 
willing paid homage to the  pieties of their time as was thought ought to be 
the role of an artist, so  it's not like they were epitome's of literary 
disinterestedness.   Me?  I have no problem with a poet, a painter, a 
preacher or professor  evangelizing.  It's not what they say, it's how they 
say it.  Who  among all those you know who've contributed anything of lasting 
importance  to our human culture was not evangelizing?  As Auden says:

"Time  that is intolerant
Of the brave and innocent,
And indifferent in a  week
To a beautiful physique,
Worships language and forgives
Everyone  by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their  feet.
Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his  views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing  well."

Transtromer may well have been enlisting a narrative other (ah,  but doesn't 
that kind of talk take me back to the old classroom), but who  cares?  Did he 
get your hackles up?  Apparently, but apparently  not in the same direction 
as mine.  Yes, of course, he was calling  those whom he despises: 
"greed-driven, murderous pigs not able to appreciate  Schubert" -- and why 
shouldn't he as long as he does so artistically.   It's all about Art, man, 
don't you get it?  And Art in this instance is  his spitting in all their 
faces to put out the fire of his hatred.  How  well did he spit?  Now if 
you're of a moralistic bent, you'll probably  ask yourself: should he hate 
them?  I don't know that.  That's his  business.  But I sure do feel his de 
profundis fury --  and I know  what he  knows: that there's nothing you can 
do about any of it.   The only salvation is to sink deeper into solipsistic 
aestheticism until  they can't find you.  Or to take up arms and by opposing, 
become  them.

Mike Geary

----- Original Message ----- 
From:  "Eric Yost" <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To:  <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2007 12:15  PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: SUNDAY POEM

> Mike kindly sends  along a poem by Transtromer:
> Annie said: "This music is  so heroic," and she is right.
> But those who glance enviously at men of  action, people who despise 
> themselves inside for not being murderers,  do not find themselves in this 
> music.
> And the people who buy  and sell others, and who believe that everyone can 
> be bought, don't  find themselves here.
> Not their music.
>  Schubert also has the most delightfully childish lyricism. Listen to the  
> final movement Rondo from Piano Sonata #17 in D-major. Clockwork  children 
> at play ... with occasional big-chord interruption by their  parents. Or 
> try the Cambridge Buskers' (or the old Josef Hoffmann  acoustic) recording 
> of Schubert's March Militaire. Children in the  empyrean.
> There should be more Schubert played over the  loudspeakers at Guantanamo, 
> during interrogations, and of course, in  jet cockpits during missile 
> strikes on al-Qaeda.
> But I  digress.
> Ever notice how some naive poets and writers struggle  to put down  people 
> of action and people of commerce? They are  denying a part of their own 
> natures. The writer who always puts down  "greedy, narrow-minded 
> businessmen" is really lashing that part of  herself who is a "greedy, 
> narrow-minded businessperson." All blame  rests with the self, as Epictetus 
> observed, and people who go out of  their way to deny any of the human 
> types is probably to a certain  extent involved in repression and 
> self-hatred.
>  Transtromer's strategy here is to enlist a narrative other, with whom he  
> can agree that business and military types are terrible. Those bad guys  
> can't appreciate Schubert. The poet and his other, though, can enjoy  the 
> elevation that comes from putting the other types  down.
> Not so artists like Chaucer, Shakespeare, or Balzac ...  who enlist all of 
> humanity in their description and let each speak for  themselves.
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