Yeah! Heraclitus - I've been speaking w/students about Plato 'n' Descartes this week, so it's kind of perfect to talk about a persistent 'endarkening' even as I try to explain that an alternative translation of Descartes' shit is: "I doubt, I think, therefore, I am."
We=Mrs. Maybe's retainers.
Lauren and I have been talking (on the phone) a bit about this desire to proscribe or prohibit certain moves in poems, an kind of 'stay against confusion' method of approaching experience, and that we preferred to leave it at "I'm up for whatever." L, correct me if I've misrepresented. And I just want to say, that perhaps a better term for our project here isn't 'irrationality' but is 'an expanded sense of empiricism.'
To whit: Brenda Coultas' Marvelous Bones of Time. In subject, paranormal. In practice, fairly flat and lucid, but also very rich. I'd argue that it's an example of 'expanded empiricism.' She relates secondhand stories about ghosts. They are 'eyewitness reports,' and therefore expansively empirical, however untestable. Also, quite 'negative irritability.'
Do I understand empiricism wrong? yes and no. Coultas compiles stories, not evidence, and what's more, makes poems. As Brent says, so beautifully of the form, "[poems] can be perverse, obscene, grotesque, and then suddenly turn all earnest, wondering and vulnerable." Nothing abstract about that!
L, your sense that the present is most occult really resonates with me (and the historian here concurs). But, how does that effect the 'patina,' the whiff of the 19th century that the term brings? I like that spoiled, bad, soft, unconvincing part of it, you know? And I wish my present had more of the past in it. Make the present more dusty.
My stepfather's family's ranch in Forestville, among the Redwoods, an incredible dusty place (Redwood offal and loam collecting on the roofs for years). Brother and I used to play with a box of fox and mink stoles there. They smelled so. They smelled like Mrs. Maybe. So, maybe I'm saying that I want a present engaged a bit more with the past. It's not anti-future. It's just that I have a strong aesthetic attraction to old stuff. I really like shabby chic.
Regarding Shakespeare's fools. You're so right. Is it because they puncture the veneer, so good, and arrhythmically? They are wilful, sure.
So, can we say that we are wilful in our mystification, or are we being empiricists, honestly poets?
In Re: Goldsmith: He quotes Gysin: "Poetry is 50 years behind painting" and provides this as a suggestion that there is all this great work to do - and that we're "Pop." Ridiculous! The implication that we have a long time 'til we get our John Currin (Stan Apps - ahahahahaha - JK) or our Richard Tuttle, our exciting Stockholder. It maybe makes sense that he holds this opinion -"Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole - not in New York!" - but, it doesn't really give us much room. It's fatalistic, huh?
For a refreshing alternative, check out Peter Holsapple's entry in the Times' songwriting blog here