News Flash: Langpo Relents (Or Does He?)

11 Comments

  1. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 7, 2008 at 11:08 pm .

    Thanks for the Felstiner recommendation. I loved his <I>Translating Neruda</I>….

  2. Andrew Shields
    Andrew Shields February 7, 2008 at 11:04 pm .

    May I recommend my mentor John Felstiner’s Celan translations. I recently read those of Pierre Joris, and I found them deeply problematic. Michael Hamburger’s are fine, but he does not capture Celan’s conciseness. There are others, of course, but those are the ones I am familiar with.<BR/><BR/>"Cryptic but not difficult": perfect.

  3. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 7, 2008 at 9:50 pm .

    Excellent observation! All critics, I think, want to control the bag; poets prefer life outside the bag for sure.<BR/><BR/>I confess that I’m familiar with Celan mostly through anthology selections, but you are the second correspondent to recommend him <I>this week</I>, so in fealty to serendipity I’ll have to heed the call.<BR/><BR/>What I <I>have</I> read of Celan has impressed me as cryptic

  4. Andrew Shields
    Andrew Shields February 7, 2008 at 9:05 pm .

    The Poetry-Critical Complex: allow me to refer to you a post of mine from over a year ago, in which I relate a favorite anecdote about the Swiss critic Peter von Matt, and how a standard gesture of his helps establish his authority as "the one who knows":<BR/><BR/>http://andrewjshields.blogspot.com/2007/01/beauty-and-immortality.html<BR/><BR/>Poetry as experience: For me, a key poet in helping me

  5. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm .

    Reginald, your post here is—as always—eloquent and forceful throughout. So let me respond paragraph by paragraph….<BR/><BR/>"I don’t believe that poems should be complicated, but I do believe that they should be complex, in the sense that life is complex, and poems should at least live up to life."<BR/><BR/>I agree with "simple surfaces but complex depths." What I detest are complex surfaces

  6. Reginald Shepherd
    Reginald Shepherd February 7, 2008 at 4:25 am .

    Dear Joseph,<BR/><BR/>Thanks for your eloquent response and your eloquent post relating to it. It’s too late for me to do them full justice, but I did want to make a few remarks.<BR/><BR/>I don’t believe that poems should be complicated, but I do believe that they should be complex, in the sense that life is complex, and poems should at least live up to life. Again, that doesn’t mean that the

  7. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 6, 2008 at 5:56 pm .

    Reginald, I think you oversimplify Kooser’s approach. His touchstone idea is that readers matter—but that each poet <I>chooses</I> his or her ideal reader by choosing a particular range of poetic strategies. I think this is indisputable. Aram Saroyan’s ideal readers, for example, are unlikely to appreciate Carl Sandburg. Drawing attention to this fact is a good thing because it can help a

  8. Andrew Shields
    Andrew Shields February 6, 2008 at 9:08 am .

    I do think Reginald is right to complain about Silliman’s sense of grievance.<BR/><BR/>No snow-covered mountains visible from Basel! Not even much snow in the city. But of course the snow-covered mountains are an hour away by train.

  9. Reginald Shepherd
    Reginald Shepherd February 6, 2008 at 2:36 am .

    Dear Joseph,<BR/><BR/>I’m glad that I discovered your blog (through your comment on my Howard Nemerov post on the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet blog).<BR/><BR/>I would have more respect for Silliman’s judgments, even if I disagreed with them (which I usually do), if there _were_ a consistent theory behind them, and if they were not so hyperbolic, dismissive, and mean-spirited. One thing that

  10. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 6, 2008 at 12:07 am .

    I do follow Silliman’s pronouncements, of course—and I value him enough to link his blog to mine. But I wonder if there isn’t more than likes and dislikes involved. He portrays himself as a theorist, after all, which means he pretends that his likes and dislikes have some kind of non-personal value. I’m enough of an Emersonian to feel constricted by any theory, which leads me to distrust the

  11. Andrew Shields
    Andrew Shields February 5, 2008 at 11:15 pm .

    Push your point further: here, Silliman accidentally makes clear that "post-avant" means "I like it" and "SoQ" means "I don’t." <BR/><BR/>Since he is an articulate and productive critic of poetry, his likes and dislikes are worth considering carefully.<BR/><BR/>But that does not mean we have to accept his unfortunate terminology.

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