Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blogger in the last few days is my ghostly editor, prohibiting revision and truncating original posts, as if my glossary instinct and limited attention span needed encouragement, things that have been in the view the last few days..

Pale Fire (Nabokov) I'm only 100 pages in, but couldn't resist checking in with a few essays on the project, and clearly it's a project, of re/de-certifying the idea of authorship. I'm amazed at how eagerly the reflections of its mirrors have been chased by countless critics over the years when it basically seems to be disabling the institution of Character so revered in mainstream fiction circles then and now. Isn't this ultimately the same conceptual and solipsistic game-playing that makes people so hot under the collar about language poetry? Or is it forgiven for its virtuosic prose, a penetrable surface? Also that so many of the critics allow that Pale Fire the poem is a good poem when it seems perfectly clear to me that it's a stumbling, warmed-over Prufrock at best, a comically bad specimen of verse well situated in underscoring the disjuncts of its "reality" and that of its commentator who regards it as a masterwork. To be continued..

Me, You and Everyone We Know (film), great kid acting, but is childhood really this bleak now? All of the kids seem to be in this limbo, recognizing that they are somehow debilitated adults waiting for time to pass as they build up a certain immunity to a dismissive and exploitive world. The filmmaker shows us a number of responses to a child's ability to see and resist a world that beckons one to withdraw into self-indulgence and preservation at the expense of compassion and wonder. The girl that seeks some sense of security by squirrelling away household appliances in her hope chest for her future family. The brothers who make artworks out of punctuation in between illicit chatroom propositions. The artist who appropriates other people's photographs as the nexus of her film projects that tell all together different stories.

Listened to Creeley talk he gave at U of C last year.. interesting to hear him speak explicitly and implicitly (exemplify) of the lack of regard for poetry-as-career. Well, I guess it just wasn't the model in his formative day as it is here.. but his steadfastness about one just following one's interests- the term "public intellectual" (why discern?) was bandied about by Q & A'ers, but I didn't sense Creeley using that word comfortably- and being in conversation with other poets, whether via letters over a geographical distance or over drinks in a saturated place of cultural exchange. And with this, "each day, another" he referred to, an epigraph for For Love.

Listened to a discussion of Derrida and, among other things, was pleased to discover that my training in explication is not antithetical to deconstructivism, in fact, phew, I'm not the closeted New Critic I've often feared.

Finished reading Ben Marcus' article in Harper's.. would love to quote at length the litany of "difficulty is..." as it comes in for a landing. Maybe later. Am interested in reading it next to John Barth's essay "The Literature of Exhaustion."


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