Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eyes-Wide-Shut on Wednesday*

I spent yesterday morning reading poems to the amazing students at Walden Green Montessori School (fun), yesterday afternoon with the retinologist having my retinas photographed (interesting) and last night at a meeting in Allendale explaining a proposal to reorganize an economic development organization (not so much fun and not so interesting, but necessary).

The drive to the meeting was interesting though, with my eyes fully dilated.


Interesting also that the once voluble Seth Abramson has gone silent on the Padel-Walcott imbroglio. **

Ron Silliman of course, is not silent on Padel and Walcott; he's frothier than usual in his latest assault on the so-called "School of Quietude."

Ron says that sexist conduct and bad behavior are the traditional province(s) of the poets he calls the "SoQ's." Such things would never happen, one might conclude, among his more erudite, more sensitive, more highly evolved lang-po crowd.

In the hallowed annals of egalitarian non-sexism within the avant and post-avant, perhaps someone could explain Louis Zukofsky's shabby treatment of Lorine Niedecker. I can't. As for general comradeship, fair treatment and avant good-feeling, what about the way Robert Creeley and Charles Olson ridiculed and dismissed Cid Corman?

My own take on Padel, Walcott, and the fallout:

Anyone who expects poets to conform to rules of sexual conduct that exceed their expectations for domesticated rabbits will be disappointed. With regard to jealousies, subterfuge and backstabbing among poets, I suggest that any ingenues among us watch "Best in Show" and multiply what you see there by a factor of ten to arrive at an approximation of these problems in the poetry world. The relegation of your work and poetic identity to the "appropriate school" --and your subsequent totally-free, our-gift-to-you dismissal as irrelevant--are only more examples of this.

See also: Joseph Hutchison's commentary.


The photograph at top is of Lorine Niedecker.

*Even though it's Thursday.

** Seth Abramson has since posted, volubly, on Walcott and other topics.


Blogger Joseph Hutchison said...

Excellent post, Greg. I've noticed Seth's silence, too, and Silliman's "frothy" (I love that one) post.

It never ceases to amaze me that when Silliman picks up his 3+ pound The Alphabet, he imagines it's some kind of typed and mimeographed samizdat publication. He loves the exalted outsider role. This goes all the way back to "The New Sentence"—that radical advance in writing that just happened to occur "more or less exclusively in the prose of the Bay Area," where Silliman, of course, was living. Oddly enough, the New Sentence was being written mostly by his personal friends....

Seth is a different case. A good poet, from what I've read online, but a brittle thinker. That doesn't bother me. Lots of great poets were brittle thinkers!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Virgin In The Volcano said...

"Anyone who expects poets to conform to rules of sexual conduct that exceed their expectations for domesticated rabbits will be disappointed."

So funny and so true.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Best in Show is one of my favorite movies.

Excellent points here, G.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Quit snarkin' on the bunnies, Greg.

Sorry Joseph, but I think SA is neither a good poet nor a good thinker. But then I don't feel obligated to think well of him since he thinks so well of himself.

Speakin' o' the snark.

3:41 PM  

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