Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This and That

My friend Charles Whitley, Jr., (sometimes known as Carter Monroe, the name under which he publishes), legendary poet and editor and the sage of North Carolina (and beyond) sent me two excellent links, the first to an essay about 19th century American writers, the second to a wonderful resource for online literary publishing:

http://www.theamericanscholar.org/voices-of-a-nation/



Another poet friend of mine, Kevin Clark, recently had lunch at Pacific Lutheran University, where each summer Kevin teaches in the low-residency M.F.A. there: the Rainier Writers Workshop. Kevin regularly teaches at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has a new book out: Self Portrait With Expletives.

We chatted about L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poetry, some of which I like more than he, perhaps. His notion is that L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poets share a fundamental epistemology/ontology--namely, a materialist one, where no transcendent meaning exists. I wonder if in fact all such poets embrace a materialist philosophy.

To the extent they do, there might be a slight problem, not insofar as they are presenting their language, their poetry, as a material artifact but insofar as they are implicitly presenting themselves as arrangers if not interpreters of the material thing, language, for if language is merely a flow--one creek--of material, why do we, why does culture, need any particular poet to present it to us. If there's no transcendent meaning, then do we require any particular trans-lator?

Nonetheless, one great thing about poetry is that it's . . . poetry and may misbehave in relation to its creator's philosophy. I mean, if you judged Yeats strictly by his gyre-theory, you wouldn't be much interested in reading the poetry, but when you go to the poetry, there's some good stuff here and there.

But I must consult with Charles about this. I'm in need of a sage--at least!
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