Sunday, 23 April 2000

From "Off the Grid: Lyric and Politics in Andrea Brady's Embrace"

by John Wilkinson.

Evidently these poets [Douglas Oliver, Denise Riley, D. S. Marriott] are skeptical of the use of art's vaunted uselessness. As lyric has become specialised and distinguished from other linguistic usages, its saving grace has been perceived from every angle as connected with its resistance to profit, instrumentality, and material progress -- a perception that echoes all the way from conservative humanism to socialist melioralism, from religious authority to new theology, from formalist traditionalism to post-theory, Language-influenced poetics. Analogies could be drawn in the visual arts, where the later-embarrassing sublimity of a Rothko or Barnett Newman was succeeded by the elegant wresting of objects from their use-world, and in high-art music which is especially anxious to achieve distance from any vulgar physical stimulation.

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