What’s missing from this discussion is experience, time, context, distance…who is to say what is making a thing, or nothing happen? Who is to say what is making meaning? Who or what will hold up? Who is to say what comfort is? Who is to say? It seems everyone is too close to the mirror to have any real sense of the bigger picture.
The latter comment, dropped into a comment stream discussion (on Jake’s blog) about Canadian poetry seems to have me hanged as sarcastic and intimidating. Amazing. It was cheeky, that’s true. And admittedly it did come out of the blue. But then so do statements such as “Any asshole can make something happen…” and language like “I’ve praised” or “I’ve denounced” so and so’s poetry or “there’s no doubt that Auden considered his own poetry to be Ariel dominated” and so on. Also, one wonders what the difference between condescending and sarcastic is?
Really, the older I get the more humble I get. The poets I respect most come to poetry and poetics with layers of questions, layers of wonder. The comment streams are filled with totalizing arguments and primping of opinions and swagger. Opinions, these posters argue, are intended to be solid, bullet proof. One idea decimating another. It’s just not interesting to me. And it doesn’t invite discourse outside of the few in the discussion. And so often it’s the same few doing the discussing.
And so often, when I do insert a different perspective, or way of expressing, it’s treated with hostility.
To me exploration is much more inviting than arguing for a single reading/opinion.
In what universe is wonder intimidating? I just don’t get it.
So why bother? Well, I like the idea of discussing with non-like minded people. I’m not one for remaining entrenched in my camp. I don’t have a camp. It’s easy to discuss amongst like-minded folk. I don’t have a posse I call up to come and defend my opinion. I guess that’s why the comment streams congeal around like-minded people thinking they are having disagreements… A disagreement is larger than a quibble about a reading of a poem.
And tactics like dumping that little post in are ways to simply toss a mirror into the conversation. To say there are other folks out there, and they might have something to say as well.
Still, I do offer my apologies to those who I have misread.