On “The Uses of Difficulty”


  1. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm .

    hey… just noticed the &quot;notify me&quot; I can check that and NOT have to research the net<br />to see / get ? jeesh…. so doing will surely reduce all of the crap that I go through to &quot;get to the &#39;gooder&#39; stuff&quot;<br /><br />so… here is the check

  2. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 27, 2014 at 12:14 pm .

    for me… it is NOT difficult/easy/// explained-defined/ not explains-not defined…<br />the &quot;Bedrock&quot; for me (mis never the understanding or intelligence that I bring to it<br />or what I am told &quot;what it is&quot; … it is the<br />INTEGRITY <br />of the piece<br /><br />

  3. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm .

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm .

    : for those legions of your blogfollowers who are yet riveted to this comment stream… kookie what is on the net ! An Ad Reinhardt 1953 essay that is in the book. As I do not differentiate an art piece from a poem.. I read this as if he is also talking about poetry… especially as it has now become ?<br /><br />https://users.wfu.edu/~laugh/painting2/reinhardt.pdf

  5. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm .

    am enjoying these comments simultaneously immensely and emonstrably…. saw Waiting for Godot on live tv sometime in the 50&#39;s (as I recall)…. what impressed me was<br />how much was being done in black and white and how simple the set was… as I remember it through this present fog…. a banged up trash can and a park bench.<br /><br />seemed to be real people speaking real speak in a

  6. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison June 16, 2014 at 4:34 am .

    If writers don&#39;t offer difficulty, they can&#39;t offer complexity. I&#39;m not saying that the complexity has to be in the verbal surface; there are many Modernist works that in my opinion are complex on the surface in order to conceal the not very interesting simplicity underneath. (I think, for example, of Robert Coover&#39;s fiction.) The difficulty in Stevens is in the meanings, not the

  7. Jim Murdoch
    Jim Murdoch June 16, 2014 at 2:35 am .

    Ed I think I <i>have</i> seen Lahr’s take on Gogo but I can only find an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZrTh-78K2o&quot; rel="nofollow">audio version</a> online which is very familiar-sounding so now I’m not sure. Not my favourite. Nor was I that fond of Zero Mostel’s Gogo. I first saw <i>Waiting for Godot</i> when I was about nineteen. I got up at the crack of dawn to watch an Open

  8. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm .

    speaking of Waiting for Godot: a few years ao, when Barney Rosset still had his hand/mind/heart in Evergreen he published this of mine<br />http://www.evergreenreview.com/120/ed-baker.html<br /><br />I guess that there are now very few &quot;out there&quot; who know ANYTHING beyond the Cowardly Lion about Bert Lahr ? He was some terrific stage actor…. and more.<br /><br />as for what the reader

  9. Conrad DiDiodato
    Conrad DiDiodato June 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm .

    Jim,<br /><br />your points are well taken but I suspect there are levels of accessibility open to different readerships: certainly the Olson or Stevens reader won&#39;t find any less delight in reading works as multi-layered (and nuanced) as theirs than in reading a more reader-friendly work like <i>Godot</i>. However, Becket&#39;s prose can be pretty tough slogging at times.

  10. Jim Murdoch
    Jim Murdoch June 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm .

    I think the word ‘difficult’ does poetry no favours. Prose can be difficult too. It’s just that fewer prosers stretch themselves and even fewer readers are willing to commit to a difficult novel when it takes them all their time to read a difficult poem of a dozen lines. I’ve just read <i>The Awakening</i> by Kate Chopin which is not a difficult novel to read—far from it—but it is an ‘involved’

  11. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm .

    Joe: I appreciate your &#39;picking up&#39; on &quot;Blown Language&quot;. Interesting how I came to use that as a definition of (some of) what I was doing when at Hopkins in 71-72… Things that didn&#39;t get into my master&#39;s thesis (Okeanos Rhoos on my web-site) became a separate piece here:<br />http://fact-simile.blogspot.com/2010/08/ed-bakers-pointscounterpoints-now.html<br /><br />that

  12. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison June 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm .

    I love the term &quot;blown language,&quot; if only because poetry is ultimately about the syncopation of breath. Prose is pretty much ordinary breathing; poetry is a kind of <br />pranayama.

  13. Ed Baker
    Ed Baker June 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm .

    then we, if we do, get to a simultaneous position of<br />points/counterpoints; or, as I called it &quot;Blown Language&quot;<br />which has nothing to do with Lang Po or NoPo although<br />even this point is pointless ? see my prose piece that looks like poetry<br />albeit &quot;concrete&quot; poetry.. the 1971 unexpurgated &quot;Point/Counterpoints&quot;….

  14. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison June 6, 2014 at 5:37 pm .

    I think you&#39;re exactly right, Conrad. In fact, I&#39;ve been working on an essay, which has turned into a rather large balloon full of water that I&#39;m trying to carry across a tightrope, the main argument of which is that we have a deficiency in terms for prose that cause us to misunderstand poetry. We have two terms for what you and I love most: poetry and verse. We know that the former

  15. Conrad DiDiodato
    Conrad DiDiodato June 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm .

    Joseph,<br /><br />I&#39;ll say it&#39;s the reason poetry, certainly compared to prose, has always held me spellbound. I love the arcana, endless interrelatedness of parts and sheer beauty of its music (and every poem does sing!) Every poem is the holder of a secret (as Ungaretti once said) and it&#39;s the reader&#39;s unique privilege to try to unravel it. I&#39;ll even go so far as to say

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