Do You Want To Be Illiterate?


  1. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison May 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm .

    I'll make one concession at least. I'll concede that I can't tell a "bad" Mlinko poem from a "good" one. I don't see how her "Cantata" stands as an advance over "Cloud-to-Cloud Correspondence." But since you see an advance in it and think it a good poem, I invite you to write about it on Lycanthropia. I promise to link to it without negative

  2. JSA Lowe
    JSA Lowe May 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm .

    This is, I would argue, a bad poem of Ms. Mlinko&#39;s to have chosen—not particularly representative. Cf. more recent work on the PoFo website (&quot;<a href="; rel="nofollow">Cantata for Lynette Roberts</a>&quot;) or her <a href="; rel="nofollow">book of sonnets</a> (!) forthcoming

  3. Lyle Daggett
    Lyle Daggett March 23, 2013 at 1:21 am .

    Andrew, just leaving a note here to say that I&#39;ve gone to your blog and read each of the four posts you&#39;ve listed above. I guess I would say while I appreciated the careful reading you gave each of the poems, my preference is usually to approach poems differently.<br /><br />I tend to give the context of the poem (historical/political/social/cultural context), and the poet&#39;s intent

  4. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm .

    I have just one nit to pick: &quot;what shall I be of&quot; is not an inversion, unless you&#39;re worried about ending a sentence with a preposition. The phrase is very much normal spoken English, and the trope is the most interesting thing in Mlinko&#39;s poem. It&#39;s as if she recognizes that the poem lacks substance. Otherwise, why worry what the content of the-speaker-as-painting will be?

  5. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm .

    I&#39;m writing too fast. &quot;If I pretended that such <i>doesn&#39;t</i> waste&quot; is what I meant.

  6. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm .

    are we-all now on that path towards thinking and pondering and trying to figure things out,<br />seeking comprehension through rationalization ? mere [intellectual opinions] going up in in the flames of ;<br />everything is unimportant, shallow, peripheral, circuitous.<br /><br />what such-much scattered clutter in mind to reduce towards zilch.<br /><br />what comes to MY mind that opening salvo:

  7. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm .

    Thanks for the links, Andrew. I&#39;ve read them all, I believe, except the John Agard piece, but I&#39;ll revisit them. Here&#39;s hoping other folks to as well!<br />

  8. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm .

    Nobody, I think, is opposed to universities, to poetry written in universities, or close reading such as might be taught in universities. And I, at least, am objecting only to the trend toward the gutting of poetry by theory-driven practitioners. They have reduced poetry to a puzzle, a game. For me, Mlinko&#39;s poetry is typical of this stuff: clever and empty. <i>There is absolutely nothing of

  9. Andrew Shields
    Andrew Shields March 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm .

    Many comments since I posted my brief remark yesterday!<br /><br />I wonder what those of you commenting here (along with you, of course, Joseph) think of the poems I discuss in the following posts (as well as what you think of my discussions of the poems):<br /><br />&quot;Results,&quot; by Rae Armantrout<br /><br /

  10. Dipper
    Dipper March 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm .

    I am encouraged by your as a group digging out a definition of this word &#39;metalepsis&#39;. Yes, I meant swaps or transfers between what is represented and the language doing the representation.<br /><br />If you are opposed to poetry coming out of universities or university-based analysis of poems, I think you should get as quickly as possible to the nearest seminar room, learn all you can

  11. Dipper
    Dipper March 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm .

    If these are not words that are current in the contexts of your daily life or daily discussions of poetry, then you&#39;ll have to look them up in a dictionary. They are current in the university or metropolitan settings in which this kind of poetry is produced.<br /><br />Do you want to enjoy Mlinko&#39;s poem? Would enjoying it be like waking up in the morning and discovering you&#39;re a

  12. Dipper
    Dipper March 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm .

    You are right if you&#39;re suggesting there&#39;s some relation between the first three lines, which point to an unsatisfactory way of judging art, and the last lines:<br /><br />Later, when I want to be a great painting, I must ask<br />what shall I be of<br /><br />which conceive of art in other terms, not through membership of a school or as following of procedures but through somehow sharing

  13. Dipper
    Dipper March 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm .

    I noted the command form of the first sentence. My reading was that the poet was humorously, ironically taking on the voice of some supposed arbiter of taste who was only happy when people made judgments of art following received priniciples. I think the poem has its own moments of &#39;self-critique&#39;, too (one of which is the title, &#39;Cloud-to-Cloud Correspondence&#39;, which may suggest

  14. Lyle Daggett
    Lyle Daggett March 21, 2013 at 2:25 am .

    Well, I posted a comment here yesterday, and I came back today and found all this… wow.<br /><br />Dipper, in case you&#39;re still listehing: I&#39;ll take you at your word when you say you&#39;ve never been in grad school; however, you sure write as though you had lived in grad school your whole life.<br /><br />It&#39;s true I didn&#39;t read all of Ange Mlinko&#39;s review of Adrienne Rich

  15. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 21, 2013 at 12:36 am .

    I frequently confuse the two two<br />it&#39;s a comma error sort uv<br />like saying<br />&#39;concerting&#39; when meaning<br />&#39;disconcerting&#39;<br /><br />or saying Lafayette Park when you mean<br />Lafayette Square<br /><br />where across the street William Thomas<br />&#39;hung out&#39; for 30 + years<br /><br />now<br /><br />that s some kind of a record !<br />and he knew how to

  16. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 21, 2013 at 12:15 am .

    &quot;its&quot;, not &quot;it&#39;s&quot;, you idiot!

  17. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm .

    When I said above, re: metalepsis, that &quot;it&#39;s basic meaning is refer to something,&quot; I wasn&#39;t being arch, though I could plead indeterminacy. Actually, my fingers outran my brain: I mean &quot;it&#39;s basic meaning <i>refers to</i> something…&quot;<br /><br />You remember the days when words referred to something real, don&#39;t you? I think it went out of fashion with

  18. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 11:18 pm .

    well<br />now that I have y&#39;all<br />un:divided attention<br />and un:diluted savvy<br />let me &#39;put on my serious face-mask<br />and ask:<br /><br />is &#39;prismatic&#39; the same thing<br />effectively<br />as what in Pure Land-Zen is called<br />&#39;scattering&#39;<br />and if so<br />does this-all validate my 1971<br />POINTS / COUNTERPOINTS<br /><br />which I called (and let it be

  19. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm .

    don&#39;t need any clarificationing via a &#39;click&#39; to Pier<br />as<br />I just got me a ladder so&#39;s I can take my appeal<br />to an higher court….<br /><br />and<br /><br />this Gennette guy…<br /><br />didn&#39;t he write that Our Lady of the Flowers book ?<br /><br />or<br /><br />was he the guy/gal who metalepsically wrote<br />The Story of O starring Rocky and Bullwinkle ?<br

  20. Conrad DiDiodato
    Conrad DiDiodato March 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm .

    Joseph,<br /><br />I know there&#39;s one good book of poetry appreciation/analysis in you (a la Vendler, Burt, Hall). It really is time for spokespersons for a return to sane poetics to be mustering forces. At least before the language butchery taking place in the airless seminar rooms reaches crisis point.<br /><br />Now back to Samperi…<br /><br />

  21. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm .

    Conrad, I confess I had to look up metalepsis. We shouldn&#39;t be surprised to find that it&#39;s basic meaning is refer to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it. The example I found <a href="; rel="nofollow">here</a> is pretty clear: &quot;He has a lead foot.&quot; This means that the man in question drives too fast, a

  22. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm .

    You&#39;re right about the painting: we discover not that the speaker is a painting but that the speaker expects one day to want to be a painting. This speaker can&#39;t even muster the energy to want anything <i>now</i>. As for the speaker&#39;s gender, I admit that one can&#39;t tell from the poem itself—the &quot;naturalness&quot; of the assumption is outside the poem—but since you&#39;ve read

  23. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm .

    Your casting of Mr. If-Then as &quot;the critic&quot; isn&#39;t justified by anything in the poem. And it begs the question of &quot;the briskness with which art is judged&quot; by him, since it is not Mr. If-Then who imposes the 10-minute make-out limit; it is the speaker, who is not identifiable either in relation to Mr. If-Then or to the painting or to any of the other details in the poem. But

  24. Conrad DiDiodato
    Conrad DiDiodato March 20, 2013 at 8:50 pm .

    &quot;In fact, this kind of metalepsis (level-switching), play between and indeterminacy of voices and registers is de rigueur in a lot of contemporary poetry.&quot;<br /><br />Huh?<br /><br />Dipper,<br /><br />I think you&#39;ve said enough to prove Joseph&#39;s point many times over. Time to cut your losses.<br /><br />

  25. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm .

    By &#39;traducing&#39;, I meant a misrepresentation to serve the purposes of argument. I never said that Hong did not know what she was saying in her essay.<br /><br />The part of the essay Mlinko quoted said what Mlinko said it did–that young women no longer wanted a woman of one particular subject-position to represent every woman of every possible situation. The essay as a whole said

  26. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm .

    Where your assumptions cannot quite measure up to the poem, in my view, are where you say things like &#39;we find out at the end that the speaker is a painting, so the first lines must be directed by the painting to the viewer&#39; and &#39;the poet is a woman, so it is natural to suppose that the &#39;I&#39; of the speaker is female&#39;. No. That is not how poems written in the aftermath of

  27. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm .

    I find it ironic that you have selected &#39;Cloud-to-Cloud Correspondence&#39; as an instance of Mlinko&#39;s &#39;vapid[ity]&#39; and perhaps of how that vapidity for you is related to its being programmatic, written in accordance with the style of a &#39;school&#39;, or being exemplary of a certain tendency in poetry (grad-school cleverness). The irony is that one of the things the poem does

  28. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm .

    Interesting, Dipper. Mlinko&#39;s handling of Hong&#39;s essay wasn&#39;t &quot;too bad of a traducing.&quot; <i>Traduce</i>: &quot;speak badly of or tell lies about (someone) so as to damage their reputation.&quot; What degree of traducement is acceptable, i.e. not &quot;too bad&quot;? Hong evidently felt differently damaged by Mlinko&#39;s traducement. Of course, it could be that intellectual

  29. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm .

    I forgot to add &quot;adjectives&quot; (pretending to be nouns or verbs) to that list<br />of which &quot;prismatic&quot; is one<br /><br />now<br />take the &quot;add&quot; (above) and marry it to the word &quot;verb&quot;<br />just situated befor the closed parenthesi <br />on the right and you get &quot;addverb&quot;<br /><br />now prune, prune, prune and what is left ?<br /><br />&#39;adverb&

  30. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm .

    seems like the thrust is now towards<br />selling abstractions and myths and phantasies and testimonials<br />in the Open Marketplace<br /><br />as though they were facts !<br /><br />&quot;prismatic&quot; poetry ? what the hell is that ? so many artificial facets<br />to The New Testamentary Poetry ? as though The Olde Scriptures <br />don&#39;t count ?<br /><br />can hardly wait for &quot;More

  31. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm .

    We agree that Carol Muske-Dukes was angry. I don&#39;t think Mlinko&#39;s use of Cathy Hong&#39;s essay was too bad of a traducing. Mlinko&#39;s point was that the generation of women, indeed of feminist activists, that came after Rich, bridled at Rich&#39;s supposition that the kinds of oppression they were subjected to were just the same as those besetting white, middle-class women. This is

  32. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm .

    &#39;Substantial&#39; was the wrong word for me to use in praising Mlinko&#39;s poetry. It implies some kind of body or thing that everyone agrees is &#39;there&#39;. This body can then be assessed in various ways–say, as imposingly beautiful or as ugly–but nobody would disagree with the judgment about its &#39;substance&#39;. This is not like Mlinko&#39;s poetry at all. Her poetry is more

  33. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm .

    I look forward to your explication. I think you do a disservice to Muske-Dukes, who was clearly angry, particularly (it seems) by Mlinko&#39;s misrepresentation of Cathy Park Hong&#39;s position on Rich. Hong herself, in the comment stream, writes: &quot;Thank you for your rebuttal to Ange Mlinko&#39;s review. I just want to make it very clear that Mlinko misquotes me extensively. My essay that

  34. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm .

    Glory be, after half an hour of trying, I&#39;m on!<br /><br />Well, Mr Hutchinson, I feel that you have done very well. You have put up representative photos of Carol Muske-Dukes, Ange Mlinko and Adrienne Rich, together with a poem by Mlinko that you can&#39;t get on with, a poem that embodies opposing values for you by Margaret Atwood, which you like a lot, and some comprehenisble commentary on

  35. Dipper
    Dipper March 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm .

    I&#39;m testing whether I can post on this blog. I&#39;m &#39;RowleyBushes&#39; from the Huffington site come to reply to you about Ange Mlinko.

  36. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm .

    I mentioned condoms/&quot;safe poetry&quot;<br />and someone mentioned Duncan&#39;s H.D book so I <br />not having it I looked around<br />too costly for me<br /><br />but I did, however this Duncan quote that opens the Introduction that is<br />precisely<br />what I was &#39;getting at&#39;<br /><br />&quot;Today I will allow myself whatever projects of what might come of this mining (You&#39;

  37. Andrew Shields
    Andrew Shields March 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm .

    I&#39;m surprised that none of you has referred to this line in Mlinko&#39;s poem:<br /><br />But what is it supposed to be?<br /><br />Poetry like Mlinko&#39;s often includes such lines that can be turned against the poems themselves: what is THIS supposed to be? Well, it&#39;s supposed to be a poem …<br /><br />I&#39;m not necessarily opposed to poems that make me work to understand them (and

  38. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 4:14 pm .

    when practicing<br />&quot;safe poetry&quot;<br />I always wear my<br />1970 LifeSryles Ultra Sensitive<br />it&#39;s<br />&quot;almost like using nothing at all&quot;<br /><br /><br />opps… time to rince it out again !<br /><br /><br /><br />

  39. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison March 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm .

    This is one of my favorite Birder comment streams! Such intelligence, commitment, zaniness, thoughtfulness, and brio. It&#39;s a puzzlement, as the King sang to the Governess, why poets have fallen in love with the faux, though I imagine it has to do with it being the road to prizes and sinecures. Poetry is being marginalized because poets have decided the real money is in the sanctum, no the

  40. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm .

    jeesh..<br /><br />now wonder it takes me many years to get any single poem right !<br /><br />shld be<br /><br />&quot;The Supreme Pleasure of discovering<br />the typos along the Way &quot;

  41. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm .

    ahhh<br />a couple of typos<br />intentional or not<br /><br />I leave it to The Reader<br />to<br />discover the Supreme Pleasure of<br />the errors-along-the Way<br /><br />sure is nice to not give two-hoots (shits) about being<br />nice OR politically/poetically correct<br />so&#39;s to protect my chances of getting into<br />(the Mainstream of Things)<br /><br /><br /><br />

  42. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm .

    still here<br />playin&#39; with this Blinko poem/attitude<br /><br />I guess that there is a dumbed-down audience for this kind of &quot;stuff&quot;<br /><br />kind of vacuous that this is what she and so many other &quot;poets&quot;<br />embrace as something-of-their-own<br /><br />missing the point: the poem doesn&#39;t belong<br /><br />BE LONG to the poet it belongs in it s SELF<br />and it

  43. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm .

    well<br />not to kid-a-dead-horse<br />just in a comment that I made<br />yesterday on a blog-post that<br />was about dementia folks in a nursing home and their replies<br />to drawings of teeth. My reply jus&#39; might fit-in to this discussion:<br /><br />this IS<br />exciting<br />what y&#39;all are doing<br /><br />not so much &quot;off-the-wall&quot;<br />(( (as you posit &quot;it&quot;)<br

  44. Jim Murdoch
    Jim Murdoch March 20, 2013 at 11:53 am .

    Because I’m a nice guy I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. So when I read a poem like this and often see that the poet is being lauded left, right and centre I assume that all these people know what they’re talking about and so, since I don’t get and don’t like the poem, the fault must be mine. I feel this a lot. I don’t understand why I can’t get my head around these poems. I’m not

  45. Lyle Daggett
    Lyle Daggett March 20, 2013 at 2:23 am .

    I also read (not all, but as much as I could wade through) of Mlinko&#39;s review of Rich, and I read Muske-Dukes&#39; response in the Huff Post. I found Muske-Dukes&#39;s response pretty effective. At the AWP panel I attended on Adrienne Rich, at least one of the panelists (Alicia Ostriker as I recall) specfically mentioned Mlinko&#39;s review and had nothing good to say about it.<br /><br />In

  46. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm .

    pee est:<br /><br />just read 5 or six of her poems that are on the net…<br /><br />takes more than a large vocabulary and a well-stocked (poetry) library<br />and a bunch of credentials and a membership in the AWP<br />to write poems ….<br /><br />sure is getting &quot;old&quot; seeing all of these, at best, mediocre Poets Poeting<br />about their boring lives and about their boring

  47. Dale Jacobson
    Dale Jacobson March 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm .

    Thanks, Joe (and Ed). I admire your tolerance for boredom. I just don&#39;t have it, which means there is much I no doubt miss along the way also. I do think the &quot;trend&quot; does more than merely annoy, though. It overwhelms, and so has the effect of burial, not with bombs, but ruins nonetheless. Nice to hear some sanity.

  48. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker March 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm .

    I&#39;ve seen A Mlinko&#39;s name<br />(where else)<br />on the Ron Silliman blog-roll<br /><br />&amp;<br />almost clicked the link thinking that just maybe<br />she was a writer beyond the normal drivel that is<br /> via this blog-roll<br /><br />&quot;to make out with this painting&quot;<br /><br />what a crock of slick, tricksterism and (frankly) boring<br />crap ! A colossal waste of a

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