Wednesday, April 6

In Praise of Recklessness


I don’t have much to say about the Neil Astley lecture, I think. What he’s up to is so dim and miserable that long before I reached the end of the 17 or so pages of it I was thinking there was more to life than wasting a decent-size chunk of it on the pathetic, poorly-argued and self-justifying thoughts of one of the most powerful people in poetry world. And there is. It’s just that this morning I was at work, and it was a quarter past seven and there wasn’t much happening, and I was reading from "The Paris Review" interviews – interviews are pretty good things to read when you’re likely to be interrupted by a telephone call every few minutes, and also I like to re-read stuff I read years ago, when I was young and innocent. This morning I was reading the one with T.S.Eliot, and I came across this:

…. among the public there are always people who prefer mediocrity, and when they get it, say, “What a relief! Here’s some real poetry again.”

which made me think of Neil Astley, which at a quarter past seven in the morning was not an especially pleasant thought. Yesterday morning I re-read the interview with Marianne Moore. She was something else, by all accounts. I love this:

Interviewer: But how does professionalism make a writer lose his verve and pugnacity?

Moore: Money may have something to do with it, and being regarded as a pundit; Wallace Stevens was really very much annoyed at being catalogued, categorized, and compelled to be scientific about what he was doing – to give satisfaction, to answer the teachers. He wouldn’t do that. I think the same of William Carlos Williams. I think he wouldn’t make so much of the great American language if he were plausible; and tractable. That’s the beauty of it; he is willing to be reckless; if you can’t be that, what’s the point of the whole thing?

Let’s repeat that last bit, and put it in bold:

That’s the beauty of it; he is willing to be reckless; if you can’t be that, what’s the point of the whole thing?




Powered by Blogger

British Blogs. Listed on Blogwise Subscribe with Bloglines

Song Lyrics

Search Engine Submission and Optimization Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Get Firefox!