Substantial fragments of these posts were created just after the publication of Duncan’s map in the Spring 2007 Chicago Review. At that time, the formalised study of rationally-differentiated poets, to adjust where necessary the estimations they had accumulated in the wild, and to produce in a naturalistic manner a revised schedule more sensitive to the varying requirements of democratic flourishing, required such a map. For want of Duncan’s map, some other’s, or some other thing of his, the question of the cash / poem origami golem, beamed into the places of the poet, had historically received the greater attention.
The situation today is somewhat changed. Duncan is by now no more pernicious to the domestic circle than is my defective moral equipment. What argufication failed to amend, free evolution turned, tendency by tendency, and with only the mini turns of a calligrapher, into a public good. My copy of the map is still on my bedroom wall, but my bedroom wall is on the wall of every form room in England.
My question is roughly: had the map been barred as leading to tranquillity, would there have been any palliative or corrective appropriate to the discontents of students of poetry as their estate then stood? That question is my rationale for extending the original fragments. Most of the expression in them is florid, so straightaway I’ll try to state one or two of the intuitions which underlie them.
The paths going between, on one hand, criticism and poetics, and on the other, the poetry they purport respectively to describe and serve, are boggy and wibbly, and perhaps freight on them gets smashed up or sucked up. A statement about a poem may be more or less true than another, but the scale on which these “mores” and “lesses” get staked , and the qualitative distinctions for which they proxy, should properly be objects of contention — or at least of scepticism (see note 1).
I also felt that the phenomenon of each poesy-trope being surrounded by a little cloud of incompatible poetics-tropes, all with mysterious and therefore potentially similar or incomparable fidelities to their hub, while a law (perhaps constitutive?) required us to behave as if only one or two items (see note 2) in each periphery existed, was similar to the phenomenon of practicing politics in a liberal Western Capitalist democracy. Poetic desire and programmatically-freed political desire both have a ramified structure (see note 3), where the joints are epistemological fogs or placeholders for historical circumstance. Publically-communicable political identities, like criticism / poetics, mess up and miss out usefully-configured ambiguities in the phenomena they recruit as their origins.
I thought that Duncan’s map might have something to do with it, partly because it seemed so out of order and yet so constitutive of the order it was out of: though students of poetry go about its land with the aid of such maps, and swap them in pairs and factions, there is something weird and wrong about trying to provide such a thing en masse, even with the caveat of its partial origin or the implicit corrective jostle against the different maps of its recipients.
These intuitions are faffy, and louche in that they imply we need to sort out certain understated and intractable philosophical problems, associated with reading and writing, as a prerequisite to morally adequate political performance, which is plainly untrue and we all know or are one or two harmless and spine-free cuntholes OCD-securing their livings by implying that.
It’s kind of interesting how the link convention developed “you can find out more here,” rather than “you can find out more there. ” Presumably it comes out of “click here.”
So in the update spirit, if you like me are finding the interpollatory^3 interregnum and interpollatory^2 eggnog-alternating travellator somewhat tedious – and by definition you can’t – then a few years back Jeff Hilson wrote this book whose only consequence is it would seem so rude not to return it and forget all about it and now publishes it every few years under different titles, most recently Reality Street.
The really exciting thing is the frictionless page-turner and this is in the days before covermount. You can find instructions how to obey hyperlinks are here. It's arguably maplike. He hit upon it while he was trying to write this book that turns you gay cerebus paribus called Get Gay! and I’ve typed up the only bits (GETGAY.pdf) that don’t get properly scrubbed; if you find them vaguely familiar it’ll be proof of what I’m no doubt saying. So we were thinking we could set up ritual gladiatorial combat trap at The Foundry near Old Street tonight using a variant of compresence theory in which love is the glue of being to rinse Jeff's quail myrmidoxies of their notorious vigilance and complex stamina instead of bundle theory ontology (i.e. objects consist of and in their qualities and nothing else – no “bare particular” say) and stop him and it forever. If you can’t make the ambush we’re having the same ambush on Thursday at the Whitechapel art gallery, this time with Marianne Morris. Frances Kruk has a new book out too, it could well be the same thing, you can get it here or by buying anything with her interposed between you and the thing that you’re buying for Darkness Commodities but if it’s a Light Commodity when it goes through it will turn into Xena by Crot & Noir & al. instead. It’s a good way of telling which are which if you don’t mind getting the books a lot.
Also I’m doing a reading some time in December organised by Peter Philpott. Then maybe he (you know, Peter, Jeff, etc.) could do something worthwhile like edit a “map” book of sonnets. Since some of these would no doubt slip through the safeguards – otherwise the ontological wins – they wouldn’t all be “proper” sonnets, e.g. some of Tom Raworth’s fourteen-line sections would be included. Then we could imaginatively (or literally, if it were distributed in easily-editable format) find-replace “sonnet” with prayer, song, machine for thinking, vow, suicide note & idea &c., and we’d have all our poetry – specifically poetry – needs satisfied so completely that whatever was left over would be incredibly useful to scrutinise in order to determine what poetry is.
Note 1: For comparison, a text (a map maybe) that claims to teaches you to ride your bicycle to The Officer’s Rune in Threadneedle Street may be horribly false (e.g. “swirl left at the Nerve Henge”), but truth is a far more robust discursive-systemic possibility for it than for a text which claims to teach you to ride your bicycle (learnt by doing). Are (existing) literary-critical discourses more like the former or the latter?
Note 2: Remember, by “item” I mean nothing like “interpretation,” perhaps something like “manifold of interpretative possibilities.”
Note 3: Or perhaps, are structured like Opening Theory in Chess.
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