Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good-ing and what-not...

So I had every intention of doing this essay thing, as well as all the finalizing of poetry stuff for the final showdown...but this house-sitting gig is taking up more of my time then I would have liked.

Ultimately I feel like the Gudding essay fails. I still feel like it reads more like a book report "this is what this person thinks and this is what that person thinks." Can't really disagree with the thesis that most of the poets from the 60's became more personal in their approach to poetry (with the exception perhaps of the Pacific Northwest Set...and even they pulled away some from nature and narrative). Also can't really disagree with the fact that a lot of poets have/do believe that there is some sort of "otherness" speaking through them.

However that has never been something that I have felt.

And while I do think that poetry continues to be personal, I also think that there has been a recent push towards skill, theory, and language. It's not enough to speak of your own experience. It must be interesting in terms of language and approach as well.

This is basically my thesis.
And my own personal approach in writing. I feel like we speak towards a common experience by speaking of personal experience. That as poets we must write in an interesting way in order to be successful, in order to have people want to read it, and to be able to feel the experience as concordant with their own.

I believe that often times we read poetry, and personal experience less because we want to see what other people's lives are like, than we actually want to see that their lives and experiences are like our own. That we are, in fact, not alone. That we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. (I mean this as my experience, and why I like to read poetry...and while I could never say for certain for other people, I still believe this is true for other people whether they recognize it or not).

I have written this without the aid of my notes so this may be general, and some of my assertions about Gudding's essay may be off. But it still expresses what I think.

That's all folks. Time to go run some stairs and punch a big red cushion.


ward gleason said...

I wish I could punch a big red cushion. Alas, I have no hands.

That aside, I guess my take on the essay is that he's trying to show this shift from the "poet's" will to write for all people to this "personal poetry", perhaps related in some ways to post-modern ideas (as I know them) of "otherness", "legitmacy", and "subjectivity". All of this leads, I guess to a charge that contemporary poetry often falls into some kind of "solipsism" where the concern for proper "subjectivity" (esp. that personal story-telling that some MFA programs and poetry courses (even Author! Author! in its way) favor) possibly lessen the impact of poetry as a whole. This raising of the self above other factors then leads to the idea that the poem is its own thing and the poet merely channels it into being, allowing it to become what it wants to be. Or the poet "discovers" the poem, or whatever. In other writings of his, on the list, on his blog, I think he also claims to be trying to move away from binary thinking, the kind that is often found on Sillimans blog, yet the essay itself seems to offer up a binary to consider, tho I seem him trying to resist that toward the end in his almost "Against Interpretation" conclusion.

My only problem, I think, is that I think all of this hardly matters. Perhaps I'm not theoretical enough, but I feel like a poem is a poem, and poets write poems. It is simple. It doesn't matter, to me, the theory that informs their work so much as the work itself. Who cares if you think your writing is intentional or some act of "discovery" or personal or whatever. Perhaps the poet controls something, perhaps she doesn't. To me this is like arguing for and against free will. Whether there is free will or not, you still have to make choices and as a poet, you still have to write poems.

I don't think I actually said anything. I'm sorry. This was a waste of time.

I will now punch a red cushion.

amber said...

No. That's good. I agree. It hardly matters. And I am a very solipsistic writer.

I am sore from punching a big red cushion. My arms now resemble jello.