Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Good Catch, Jonathan Morse on Oppen, Brady and ground combat

{Frank Stella}
In the world of copyediting/proofreading, it's a "good catch." You know. When a copyeditor (or art director or client or or) see a glaring mistake in punctuation, grammar or even spelling we all missed, round after round.

Most often, at least in my experience, the copyeditor spots mistakes, typos, art for a different product, first round and that's that.  She may also, however point out an awkward or ambivalent construction and the writer, ad exec. or client will stet it. She's learned to live with it and most everything else. She's learned to trample her own instincts. It is what it is. She is a cog in so many wheels.

But sometimes, final round, someone will say, Hey, isn't Kit-Cat spelled with Kit-Kat? That kind of stupid mistake everyone has missed for weeks. THAT's a good catch.

Another, more penetrating catch is what Jonathan Morse demonstrated in his blog posting War Wardrobes, on Oppen (the poet) and Brady (the Civil War photographer). (And Eliot Weinberger, essayist and the like.)  Morse begins his posting:

Visualize these words crawling up the screen while percussion and low strings fill the darkened room with martial sound.

Oppen . . . had fought and had been seriously wounded as an infantryman in World War II, perhaps the only enduring American poet to participate in ground combat since the Civil War.

And dissects "to participate in ground combat since the Civil War" as you might, Sarah Sarai is the only poet to be writing in her bed when she should be bathing and rushing to work. As Morse dissects Weinberger's very specific observation he writes,
It's both true and well known, for instance, that Kurt Vonnegut and J. D. Salinger were emotionally scarred for life by their experience as infantrymen in World War II, but neither Vonnegut nor Salinger was a poet.
It's true too that the poets John Ciardi, James Dickey, and Howard Nemerov flew combat missions and the poet Frank O'Hara served on a destroyer that earned sixteen battle stars, but that wasn't ground combat.
Morse next makes a poem of Oppen and and Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. It is a poem found and constructed in Morse's mind.

I observe that Sarah Sarai is the only poet in her apartment about to bathe and race to work. Read Morse's posting.

No comments:

Post a Comment