Truman Capote famously quipped regarding Kerouac’s writing, “That’s not writing, that’s typing!” Happily, thanks to the heightened serendipitous dimensions of cyberspace, I happened on a closer reader of Kerouac, Clark Coolidge. One can mouse around the links from the original Jacket2 posting, but what caught my attention was Ron Silliman’s remark that
One test of Coolidge as a critic – you can find some other non-Kerouac samples as well on his EPC web page – is that he gets the importance of Visions of Cody, not just as a central work in the Kerouac canon, but quite possibly the Great Novel of the past century, right up on a par with Ulysses & Gravity’s Rainbow & the best of Faulkner (who is not unlike Kerouac in that his best work often comes in passages, rather than entire books).
I’ve long admired Kerouac’s achievement in The Legend of Dulouz, his novels taken as one multivolume work, but I can’t recall having encountered anyone else who appreciated what happens when the novel taps into its original energies as the genre that is by definition novel, as “the genre that contains all other genres,” when the narrative becomes écriture and one doesn’t know what one is reading anymore, only that one is reading. I’m glad to have chanced on someone else who gets it.
Normally, I’m given to giving more thought to what I post here and developing that thought at greater length and depth, but, sometimes, maybe, a blog is a place to allow oneself to think out loud, to essay some positions, without the explication and footnoting a more rigorously writ out thesis would demand. To wit:
Reading a random piece of praise from Charles Bernstein for Ron Silliman’s latest addition to what amounts to his lifelong long poem, Revelator, I can’t help but think that the paratactic poetic of Silliman’s New Sentence is in a way the afterlife of Pound’s Ideogram, so trenchantly studied in what should be widely-known as the classic study by Laszlo Gefin. This insight, however true, helps articulate a growing discomfort and dissatisfaction with what passes for the contemporary avant garde in English-language poetry, which seems increasingly, to me, at any rate, as a dead end of that literary High Modernism that flourished in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century as that ghost of Romanticism that haunted the end of the Nineteenth Century was a faint echo of the Spirit of the first and second generations of British Romanticism about a century before it. However much our practice must be (never mind can’t help but be) “absolutely modern” (a modernity whose horizon, arguably, includes what is academically termed Romanticism, Modernism, and Postmodernism), said modernity is also always relative to its precursors, demanding, at times, a gesture for the sake of sheer differentiation, precisely what inspired Pound’s return to meter and rhyme in Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (1915!). That is to say, however pertinent parataxis might be said to be to our moment, as a poetic practice it has become, if not merely reflexive, at least de rigueur, which is to say as dogmatic as any compositional value in any school of poetry, another hollow idol for the hammer to sound.
ACAD Liberal Studies Instructor Derek Beaulieu is planning to teach his students how to type.
Starting in January, every student in Beaulieu's Creative Writing course will be required to create all of their notes, their assignments and their final projects on portable manual typewriters.
Students will be required to write in class, in coffee houses and on public transit in order to make traditional poetry and prose, but also to use the typewriters to create portraits and music — all in order to explore the artistic possibilities of these sadly neglected machines.
The teapot in the tearoom of the North American poetry milieu is all aripple again and cups aclatter in their saucers. Boston Review publishes a conversation with poet, critic, and scholar Stephen Burt and (via the Véhicule Press blog via Evan Jones) one can read Adam Plunkett in the The New Republic take Burt to task—on the matter of taste. Taste? In 2013?!
I quote a supposedly well-known poet-critic: ”Consider the way of the scientists rather than the way of an advertising agent for a new soap.”
This serious artist has more important things to attend before Time’s wingéd chariot kindly stops for him. Or, to quote again that well-known poet-critic:
I would much rather lie on what is left of Catullus’ parlour floor and speculate the azure beneath it and the hills off Salo and Riva with their forgotten gods moving unhindered amongst them, than discuss any…theories of [taste] whatsoever….I shall not argue.