I’d like to meet James Longenbach someday to thank him for writing The Resistance to Poetry. I’ve just finished reading the book, but each of its nine essays bursts with so much insight that I don’t think I’ll ever really finish “reading” it.
As a sample: the opening salvo that gives the book its title and general thrust.
And to think I was already so impressed with his The Art of the Poetic Line, which I read before The Resistance to Poetry. (Saying that reading the former led me to the latter is only half-true: Chad Davidson mentions Resistance… in “Got Punked: Rebellious Verse.”)
I struggle with the line, so reading The Art… was quite mind-expanding, too. Anyway, more about Longenbach in this interview, showcasing his sensitivity to the materiality of language and, by consequence, poetry.
The question of our respective and prospective thesis topics in my Poetics course was suddenly raised, pop-quiz style, last Wednesday. I babbled a bit about fragmentation and Chad Davidson calling poetry “the rebellion of language against the tyranny of meaning,” but all it did was remind me about how far I needed to go to think this through.
(I also thought about–but decided not to mention–Theodor Adorno, his suspicion of “identity thinking and instrumental reason,” his championing of art as “non-identity,” his decision to go aphoristic in Minima Moralia, his views on punctuation, etc.)
The professor for the course I’m currently taking on Poetics (Writing on Writing) gave us an assignment: pick an essay about writing that we personally found “inspirational” and share it with the rest of the class.
While this list isn’t complete, and some of the links don’t point to the essays themselves but only to excerpts and/or commentary, here are some of those pieces, the first one being my own selection:
- “Got Punked: Rebellious Verse” by Chad Davidson
- “The Poem and Its Secret” by Durs Grünbein
- “The Bird is in Your Hands” by Toni Morrison
- “Jazz Messenger” by Haruki Murakami
- To Invigorate Literary Mind, Start Moving Literary Feet” by Joyce Carol Oates
- “Incremental Perturbation: How to Know Whether You’ve Got a Plot or Not” by John Barth
Something tells me I may be setting myself up with the title of this entry. You see, I’m really talking about living la vida existencialista: Nietzsche and Heidegger.
I’m a big fan of M. John Harrison‘s writing in general: not just his novels and stories but also his blog entries.
Lately, Harrison’s been posting lists of works in the related genres of fantasy and science fiction. It would be an understatement to refer to these lists as unorthodox; while most of the entries are books, some are films, computer games, and pop songs.
In a comment on one of Harrison’s follow-up lists, an artist named Edwin Rostron mentions something called The Codex Seraphinianus. Following the link Rostron left, I found myself thrilled by both the book itself and that essay about it. Additionally, I was also thrilled by the mention of a professor named Terry Harpold.
That was when things became apophenic.