Against the Binary

18 Comments

  1. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 11, 2009 at 12:31 am .

    Hah!

  2. William Michaelian
    William Michaelian February 11, 2009 at 12:11 am .

    Lovely! Now, if we substitute “poet” for “horse” …

  3. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 11, 2009 at 12:06 am .

    Which reminds me of one of my Issa favorites:<BR/><BR/>a<BR/>horse<BR/>farts<BR/>four<BR/>or<BR/>five<BR/>suffer<BR/>on<BR/>the<BR/>ferryboat

  4. William Michaelian
    William Michaelian February 10, 2009 at 11:46 pm .

    Certainly. All I’m really saying is that it’s interesting, and that it says a lot about us as people and as a society.<BR/><BR/>And it’s true, we all use language. But only a relative few use it artistically, beyond a means of simple everyday communication: “Pardon me, where is the bathroom?”<BR/><BR/>Which reminds me of your wonderful <A HREF="http://lowerhalf.blogspot.com/2008/12/

  5. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 10, 2009 at 11:17 pm .

    My theory on this, William, is that most people don’t have skills with wood, or agriculture, or holding the attention of a class, or laying brick, or baking bread, or healing the sick; but every one of us uses language. Why pay for something we all do every day?<BR/><BR/>There’s also the question of practicality. We pay for what we use, and what can you use poetry for? You can’t eat it or

  6. William Michaelian
    William Michaelian February 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm .

    Yes, heaven forbid that an artist should earn a living for bringing his gift to the world. And yet for some reason, this does not apply to the artist who is a carpenter, or a farmer, or a teacher, or a brick-layer, or a baker, or a doctor …

  7. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm .

    Hi J.H.—I ran across an interview online with Linh Dinh, where he described starting out to be a painter. But he was poor and got to the point where he couldn’t afford the materials. So he turned to poetry! Then fiction. It’s actually worked out; he makes a chunk of his living, as I understand it, traveling hither and yon giving readings and doing workshops; I don’t imagine he could live on book

  8. J.H. Stotts
    J.H. Stotts February 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm .

    next to simple memory, that is–and only the poet has that luxury (who memorizes a painting or a novel?)

  9. J.H. Stotts
    J.H. Stotts February 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm .

    as a sometime photographer, and with a brother who’s a painter and sculptor, i think the double blessing of writing is that not only can a poet ignore the monetary consequence of his art, which is zero almost as a matter of fact, but he also never has to waste a penny on supplies.<BR/>pen and paper is the most democratic means of production possible.

  10. J.H. Stotts
    J.H. Stotts February 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm .

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 10, 2009 at 4:23 pm .

    I had a similar experience, baj (if I may use that moniker), with George McWhirter at U. of British Columbia. That mentor relationship can be very powerful. When I graduated and was coming back to the U.S., George gave me an inscribed copy of his then new book <I>Queen of the Sea</I>"Remember that pages are meant to be walked through," he wrote, "not lived in."<BR/><BR/>And of course I think

  12. Matthew W. Schmeer
    Matthew W. Schmeer February 10, 2009 at 3:53 pm .

    I am in nearly complete agreement with what you say here.<BR/><BR/>Perhaps, in the end, what we need to do is reject labels and just write what we want to write without thinking about our adherence to a particular aesthetic.<BR/><BR/>Seth Godin, an online marketing guru, <A HREF="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/02/the-customer-is-always-wrong.html&quot; REL="nofollow">recently posted</A>

  13. baj salchert
    baj salchert February 10, 2009 at 4:15 am .

    Thank you, Joseph; and you are welcome.<BR/><BR/>As to workshops, my three experiences, especially the one at Iowa (thanks to George Starbuck), freed me. It was a personality thing. I was so intensely inward:<BR/>all imagination and no reality. Starbuck changed that.

  14. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm .

    Joel, you’re right, of course: criticism, interpretation, really discussion of any kind happens through a lens or prism of theory. I have no problem with theory when it’s descriptive, such as the Theory of Evolution or the Theory of Relativity; what I reject is prescriptive theory becomes prescriptive that tells poets what their processes and poems <I>should be</I>. Breton’s insistence on

  15. jejacobson
    jejacobson February 9, 2009 at 4:08 am .

    The Orchestra is a great poem. I really like this idea. I hope there are some examples of this idea in future posts–some examples may already be in some of your past posts. But would the movements and theories be necessary prisms to evaluate possible "relations"? Maybe this is the case anyways.

  16. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 9, 2009 at 3:42 am .

    Good post, Brian. And thanks for the link to Plumbline.<BR/><BR/>Joseph—thanks for the good words. I agree: I’m too obtuse for criticism. Also, I saw your "Sobriety" in the new "Copper Nickel." Good work!

  17. Joseph P. Wood
    Joseph P. Wood February 9, 2009 at 1:54 am .

    Love this post. I guess for me, I try not to think of what "school" I’m in when I’m writing. I just write–not to say I don’t have aesthetic predilections or influences–but I think when a writer becomes their own critic and aesthetician, well, that already limits his or her own imagination, you know?<BR/><BR/>I don’t know, knowing schools and taxnomy is helpful for critics, but I’m not smart

  18. baj salchert
    baj salchert February 8, 2009 at 11:58 pm .

    see <BR/>bajsalchert.blogspot.com/2009/02/07.html<BR/>for my response to this post.

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