Friday, February 11, 2011

Foodstuff Friday: words; intimidated by theory no more

*see below
Today I'd like to look at a few of the words echoing the Skylight Room of CUNY's Grad Center (please see yesterday's post). One is "the." "The" is an article, in this case preceding "good."  "The good."  Socrates, we are told, had an interest in "the good" for the person and the state. Plato definitely professed that same interest as documented in his Dialogues.

Wed. night I talked about "the good" as part of my theory in the "Transitions" series in which three speakers present a manifesto on poetics (theory on poetry). I am not convinced that sophisticates who are eagerly conversant on theories of Derrida can think independently or in depth.

What I often observe (Wednesday night is just a pretext, I see this all the time) is a generation of poets who love theory and theories of Derrida and other contemporaries. But they don't really listen because they can only hear in that singular context. And they can only deconstruct their experience of hearing.

People asked me about "good" (an adjective) which is different from "the good" (a noun). In addition for calling for poetry to lead us to "the good," my manifesto also calls for a poet to know humility and be humble.

The question I got was about humiliation.

My final crankiness is that I was asked a question intended to get me to talk about my Manifesto -- for which I am grateful -- but the interrogator could only reiterate what I'd already said or the experience of hearing what I said. No content. I hear a lot of that from theory-heavy poets -- they can repeat the words, query the "experience" of the text, but not ask one question indicating they know depth or breadth of thinking, moved though they may be. They may know they are having feelings but don't know what they are feeling.

Of course I am generalizing. Generlizations are dangerous and surface-skimming so I run the danger of being what I criticize. That said, I am not off base. My pink cloud (see yesterday's posting) is red.

*ARTWORK BY Karin Kuhlmann

No comments:

Post a Comment