THE TOP TEN HATREDS IN POETRY

Hate?  A strong word.   Do Ron Silliman, Charles Bernstein, Rae Armantrout and the rest of their friends hate Billy Collins?  In civilized, professional behavior, we keep hate hidden, but it only takes a word for it to slip out. We know it, we recognize it, we feel it; we know it’s there.  Maybe it’s not hate, exactly… we might refer to it as jealousy, disgust, dislike…but let’s just call it hate, and not beat around the bush. We prefer, most of the time, that it remain hidden, and most of us don’t like to feel hatred or be hateful or see hatred in another—that’s true…but we’d be naive if we pretended it didn’t exist in any of our hearts at all.

Scarriet had it’s best week ever last week (in terms of views).  Ron Silliman comparing Billy Collins to Edgar Guest (and us pointing it out) began the firestorm.

On Friday of last week, Billy Collins made the front page of  my local paper:

“A Poet Achieves Rock-Star Status. Meet the ‘phenomenon’ that is Billy Collins—a man who has made poetry popular (again). More than a million copies of his books are print. ‘A good poem is like a pair of flannel pajamas. Comforting’–Billy Collins”  —Dorothy Robinson dorothy.robinson@metro.us

Ron Silliman’s Quietist Nightmare!

As usual, Scarriet reflects wisely on the significance of it all, and pardon us as we do so, before giving you the Top Ten Hatreds In Poetry:

The matter here may be as simple as what should be kept and what junked.

Poetry isn’t a matter of life and death; no lives depend on poetic reputation, but if poetry as a companion to thought and civilized pleasure is important at all, then we should, at the very least, dump trash and keep the valuable (which if not done in the real world would quickly drown us in garbage and lose value so as to be the end of us all).  Such a task is no small matter—it is not for the Garrison Keillors and their Good Poems only; it is the most important task of all poets at all times; if we think on it, this is the only task of poetry: sorting good from bad, whether composing, publishing, or reviewing; in truth, all are critics all the time, and except for inspiration, divine and invisible—which belongs to a separate realm—this is the only business of poetry: sorting good from bad. All we mortals do is sort—honestly and truthfully—or not.

It used to be like this, at least more than it is today: universities taught and collected the best, and the collecting and the teaching were essentially the same enterprise: sorting out the heavens, sorting with our backpacks in the wilderness, sorting the lines and poets who went before.

This all changed right after WW II.  Colleges multiplied, and they changed. Professors in the Humanities no longer sorted.  Professors no longer pulled weeds.  Homer and Shakespeare and Keats were no longer used as sorting tools. Keats was no longer a living flower, but a dead one, and to be a flower was to be dead. Writers sprung up like weeds in the Creative Writing programs. The weeds were all different and marvelous in their variety—from the perspective of the weeds. But from a distance, from the public’s perspective, all the weeds looked the same—and they looked like weeds.  But the public is wrong, thought the weeds, and the Creative Writing programs assured the weeds that indeed the public was wrong and provided loans and money for their MFAs.

Modernism was the first era or school to trash preceding eras—no matter the quality of the individual poets from those preceding eras.  It would be far better if we talked of poets and not these damned eras and schools, but this was modern scholarship’s gift to the world. You can’t talk about Modernism without talking about the Modernists. With the Romantics, you can talk about individual poets, because the “Romantic” poets were not aware of themselves as Romantics—the Modernists called them this.

Byron loved Pope, Keats adored Shakespeare, Shelley loved Plato,  Poe scolded his contemporaries, but ours is the first era where all “Modernists” join in dismissing the best that went before.

True, the Romantics did play the ‘Melancholy Resignation’ card once too often; ‘We Shall Go No More A Roving’ threw its sonorous, sentimental shadow over poetry for a hundred years, and more—Archibald MacLeish, Amy Lowell, and thousands of others were doing ‘Romanticism’ well into the 20th century. (We forget that Byron was also the first Beat poet, as well, but we’ll leave that aside for now.) Japanese art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries cooled many a feverish brow with placid images; the proud West took haiku into its heart and Romantic sentimental virtuosity finally beat there no more. The icy, ‘classical’ poems of H.D. lasted hardly a day, but painting became abstract, with the Bauhaus movement architecture turned efficient and brutal; fascism and political cruelty and genocide countered the old Sentimentality of the previous century with a ferocity few could have imagined; leaflets and bombs fell from the sky, two world wars produced sentimental poetry (WW I) and a GI Bill that produced high enrollments of sentimental poets (WW II). Western sentimentality returned in the writing programs in the universities, but not of the Byron type: it was not a sentimentality of universals, but one of dizzying variety—poetry felt it could serve the classroom and the quirks of every individual and it could, and it did—and by doing so brought on its eventual destruction—but only because it forgot to sort good from bad.  Good poetry was still being written but no one knew where to look for it. Colleges produced, but did not discriminate—or they discriminated artificially and incestuously, away from the public’s eye. The factory produced and produced and refused to throw away.

In youth soccer, some  parents yell instructions from the sidelines at their children, while other parents watching from the sidelines murmur, ‘poor kids, they already have a coach, they don’t need more coaches.’ The ‘One Coach’ theory finds it sufficient to let poets find their way without criticism or instruction from anyone else. ‘The Coach’ here represents all poetry learning that is handed down to all of us. ‘The Sillimans and the Armantrouts are playing the best they can, so leave them alone.’  This is the One Coach Theory.

The ‘Multi-Coach’ theory believes that everyone is a coach, or ought to be one; that Sillimans and Armantrouts need extra encouragement.   ‘As a parent, I care.’  The Coach can’t do everything.  Scarriet believes in the Multi-Coach Theory.

Poetry needs local passions. The invention of the atom bomb made the world ‘one village,’ but poetry doesn’t thrive in a village; poetry needs a city, a town, a wilderness to thrive—poets hate situations where everybody knows everybody and news is the same for all. One village of contemporaries loving their ways together is a nice idea, but unhealthy in practice, especially when it comes to poetry.

Silliman hates because he cares. Hate on, you poets, and don’t be ashamed of your hate.

Here then, without further ado, are the Top Ten Hatreds in Poetry:

10. Byron for Robert “Bob” Southey

9. Pound for the Russians. (He  called them “Roosh-uns” and bragged that he never read them.)

8. Samuel Johnson for the ‘Metaphysical Poets.’  Johnson coined the term, and thought they were stiffs.

7. Alexander Pope for his contemporary “dunces.”

6. Ron Silliman for the “phenomenon” that is Billy Collins.

5. Harold Bloom for Edgar Poe.  Bloom’s dismissal of Poe is either stupidity or hate; we have to assume it’s hate.

4. Rufus Griswold for Walt Whitman. In a review, Griswold called “Leaves” a ” mass of stupid filth.”

3. Charles Bernstein for T.S. Eliot—the only “name named” of the “Official Verse Culture.”

2. John Crowe Ransom for Byron.  In his essay, “Poets Without Laurels,” Ransom made it clear, once and for all, that Byron must be put on the shelf.

1. T.S. Eliot for Edgar Poe.  The bullet was “From Poe to Valery.”

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68 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Tom says:

    Byron loved Pope, Keats adored Shakespeare, Shelley loved Plato, Poe scolded his contemporaries, but ours is the first era where all “Modernists” join in dismissing the best that went before?

    Mark, are you there? Bill, Christopher, Kevin, Ron, Charles, Nooch, or Gary?

    Does anyone in this debate agree with Tom Brady, or anyone anywhere?

    • Nooch said,

      April 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Since you asked, I sense a sharp break from the past
      In this age of dire felicity,
      Which I blame on prosperity post-WWII,
      And the invention of electricity.

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 4:39 pm

        Not to nit-pick but electricity was “discovered” not “invented” :P

        This doesn’t totally answer the question, Baron von Noochenheimer. A sharp break isn’t the same as hatred for what came before. Also the major advances of the 20th century (in science, technology, archaeology, psychology, etc) must surely have impacted upon poetry somehow – wouldn’t it be disingenuous for a poet to pretend otherwise? Would you not agree that Tom’s framing the issue in this manner is completely reductive (and therefore not very useful)?

        More to the point, is the answer to move backwards? I’ve said before that I’m not a Hegelian but I do believe, to some extent, in Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis. It bears on everyone interested in poetry to make that synthesis as awesome as possible. Scarriet/Tom just seems to want to return to the thesis and write off the antithesis entirely. I’m looking for a way forward.

      • Nooch said,

        April 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm

        As Chou En-lai said to Hank Kissinger—
        You probably remember this well—
        On the effect of the French Revolution,
        In brief, “It’s too early to tell.”

        Each age in some way attempts to supplant
        The achievements of those who are older—
        The Modernists won in their time, and now Brady
        Attempts to give them the cold shoulder.

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm

        I really don’t understand all the Nooch-hatred on the Scarriet comment pages… The guy is as charming as a basket full of puppies!

        To your point, all I’ll say is that the cold shoulder is fine (even useful) as a way of moving forward but Tom comes off as a reactionary. If he had a plan or method which allowed poetry to be written in a way that felt modern and just happened to bypass the last 100 years I would be his biggest fan. All I see is talk with nothing to back it up.

  2. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Not me. Even as an old partner, count me out of it.

    Christopher

  3. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    On the other hand, I know where Tom’s at. Stats are better than any at bats!

  4. Christopher Woodman said,

    April 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    And as I feel I made a mess of the last thread, with a little help from my friends and Ruth Lily (whom I love, but nevertheless), there’s outstanding this:

    Mark said,
    April 11, 2011 at 2:33 am

    “The stuff about the Modernists is just a minor beef, though. It’s an example of the low standards of discourse you [Tom] allow/encourage on Scarriet. Here are the important questions as I see them:

    “1) You have been accused of not finding any value in poetry, how do you respond? Has your life been enriched in any way by your familiarity with poetry or is it just something to pass the time for you?

    “2) What, in your mind, is the point of Scarriet? Is it to improve poetry or to wallow in its failings? Is it something else entirely? Can you link to anything you’ve written that is indicative of the spirit of Scarriet as well as being substantial, based on concrete points and in some way worthwhile?

    “3) How do you respond to charges that you are nothing but a common internet troll? Is such an assessment fair or unfair and why?

    “4) How do you justify the hyper-reductive view of literature you present here (that literature be purely sentimental and that your reviews need not be based on facts or even on having finished reading the work you are purporting to review)? Are you content merely to pass off your crude speculations as facts? Why or why not?

    “5) You’ve repeatedly attacked Bernstein’s “Official Verse Culture” and Silliman’s “School of Quietude” for being too vague but your own attacks on “incoherent” poetry are just as vague (perhaps more so). What do you think about this seeming hypocrisy?

    “6) Where do you realistically see poetry going in the 21st century? Where would you ideally like to see poetry going in the 21st century? What have you done to help facilitate any forward movement?

    “What say you, Tom? There are no right or wrong answers here. Answer as many as you can (the first one is probably less important to me personally but I think it DOES warrant being asked).

    Mark”

  5. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Anonymous said:

    “Mark, are you there?”

    Geez, it’s only 9am here! Give me a break!

    I might write a bit more later but obviously Tom’s generic stab at Modernism holds no merit (which is why he won’t answer for what I wrote in the other thread) and his idea that he can sense hatred without having met any of the people he senses it in and without any of them having said so is completely stupid (Tom is no Jedi, he may be the least perceptive person I’ve ever encountered. As such, this says a lot more about him than it does about them).

    If he wants exclusively comfortable poetry he can have it – I’m not trying to take that away from him. Apparently the only thing he likes about poetry is categorizing it (how is sorting poetry the only task of poetry? I thought reading poetry was the only task of poetry. You’re not into the words, the music and the feelings, Tom? I like a good sorting as much as the next guy, but come on!).

    But I’m mostly just shocked at how tame the post is. Tom’s like a neutered dog who hasn’t quite broken the habit of humping the couch. All his old talking points are there but look at how mildly they’re expressed.

    I like that Scarriet’s best week ever was the week Tom got “gang-raped” (to borrow a phrase :) ) – I guess “the public” has been waiting for a long time to see Tom get exposed for the joke he is. I guess if this post and his silence otherwise are any indication, Tom is well aware of this.

    Mark

  6. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Mark said:

    “I might write a bit more later but obviously Tom’s generic stab at Modernism holds no merit (which is why he won’t answer for what I wrote in the other thread)”

    For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, I wrote (in response to Tom saying that he was going to prove the Modernists hated the Romantics by moving on to John Crowe Ransom) this in the last thread:

    “Tom,

    You want to move on to John Crowe Ransom?!?!

    That’s pathetic. NO ONE reads John Crowe Ransom. You want to disregard HD and Olson because no one reads them [Tom had said Olson and HD didn't count] but my Collected HD is on its 9th printing and my Maximus Poems is on its 3rd (which is not necessarily a statement of quality but a mere economic fact – someone must be buying them to warrant them being printed in any significant quantity). Ransom’s books aren’t even in print. You are literally the only person I’ve ever heard talk about him. The battle you’re fighting here is long over. Time to move on, sir.

    Let’s level with one another. The three major English language modernists are Eliot, Pound and Yeats (am I forgetting anyone really big here?).

    Eliot hated the Romantics

    Yeats loved them passionately (I actually don’t care for much of Yeats – his poetic methodology and agenda are off-putting – but his lineage from Blake and Shelley is clear. Duncan talks about it in the HD Book and uses quotes from Yeats. I’m sure you’re already aware of it but I can quote it if you’d like)

    If Pound calling Shelley the greatest transcendental poet of the English Language, calling Ode to the West Wind glorious, calling Coleridge wise and having mad love for Heine isn’t good enough (it is, you’re just trying to wriggle free now) then the point remains: ambivalence isn’t hate. I don’t listen to the bands I listened to when I was 13 anymore but to accuse me of hating them is ludicrous and untenable. You said Pound “hated” the Romantics. That’s just not true. It makes for a flashy title but it has no merit.

    If you wanted to show that you had the capacity for reasoned debate (rather than just jumping to crazy conclusions based on no facts or evidence) I would be happy to discuss how Pound’s later work continued to show the influence of the Romantic poets (in terms of formal construction and content – i.e. his use of mythological referents, etc). It should be said, though, that I’m not much of a Pound guy. I’m not sure how you’ve put the mantle of Pound on me here. I’m not trying to defend him, per se, I’m just trying to clear away some of your subtle mistruths and outright lies.

    Anyway, “growing somewhat ambivalent as he aged and moved on to other works” is not the same as “hating” – the burden of proof was on you and you dropped it. Pound was an opinionated prick. If he “hated” the Romantics as you keep claiming, he DEFINITELY would have said so.

    We can bring minor figures out of the woodword [this should have been "woodwork" :( ] (though by ANYONE’s estimation HD, WCW, Crane, Olson and Stevens are more important figures than Ransom and Warren) but, within the three most prominent figures in the Modernist movement, we see a huge amount of variance in their feelings towards the Romantics. From hatred to modest enjoyment to absolute love.

    Saying Modernists hate Romantics won’t do anymore, Tom. It’s too reductive to be worth a damn and that’s just not good enough.

    The sick thing is that I think you already know this. Saying “Modernists hate Romantics” is [an] attention-grabber but if you have to bring up John Crowe Ransom to make your case you’ve already pretty much lost as far as I can see.

    Mark”

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Calling Shelley a “transcendental” poet would be a form of abuse in some circles; thanks to Poe, the Transcendental Poets were considered a joke by many; granted we don’t know exactly what the Pundit Pound meant by the term, but that’s the problem, it’s just a passing reference in what was essentially a grad thesis. If you were a college instructor and a student told you they wanted to do a paper on the Romantics, would you send them to Pound as a source? LOL Pound made no contribution to Romantic Studies—he had nothing of any interest to say about them. Pound is interesting as a character, not as a scholar.

      Yeats is interesting: as you know, Pound was his secretary. With Yeats, we’ve got the Golden Dawn, and as you probably know, Aleister Crowley was a member, and then you’ve got John Quinn—a shadowy figure rarely mentioned, who was Pound and Eliot’s lawyer, an associate of Crowley’s as a double agent in British Intelligence. I believe Yeats was a double agent (working for the British against the Irish) and his courtship of Irish patriot Maude Gonne (and her daughter!) was a part of this operation.

      Those are three pretty crafty and dubious men as the leading Modernists!

      As for Ransom; yes, as an author he’s going out of print and is hardly read, agreed. Just another indication of how you have to be a detective to understand history! Ransom was very influential in his day and was instrumental, along with associates Tate, Engle, Professor Crane at Chicago,in getting the Modernists into the Academy–which was crucial, since they didn’t have much of an audience. Thanks to the work of Ransom, guys like WCW and Pound are read—in school, and thus Pound’s friends, HD and Olson, are also read in school today.

      Tom

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

        “we don’t know exactly what the Pundit Pound” – Calling Shelley great and talking about the glory of his poem is too ambiguous for you? Do we need to go to wikipedia again?

        Nothing you said about Yeats disallows him loving the Romantics.

        The point is that “hate” is in inappropriate word. You know that. Not contributing to the study of Romantics is not the same as hating them. I had a prof who was a Shakespearean; she probably loved Shelley more than anyone I’ve ever met. Yet she contributed nothing to the study of him. By your logic she hates Shelley. That’s specious and it won’t do.

        “Those are three pretty crafty and dubious men as the leading Modernists!” – this doesn’t refute my point in the slightest.

        “you have to be a detective to understand history” – You’re not doing detective work, Tom. You’re grasping at straws. The fact that you refuse, now, to engage with the points I’ve made just proves it.

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

        Mark,

        You keep forgetting that I’m building an argument. Eliot hated the Romantics, that’s proven, Pound (who was not teaching Shakespeare) ignored the Romantics and these are the two leading Modernists. -You had a teacher who taught Shakespeare and because she was teaching Shakespeare she didn’t mention Shelley-now this example is used to discredit the argument I’m building which shows you either can’t think straight or you’re simply a jerk-Pound wasn’t your Shakespeare teacher, he, with his friend Eliot, ushered in Modernism. Oh, and Yeats abused Keats, called him a kid pressing his nose against a sweet-shop window (some nerve, Yeats is a windy dogerrelist compared to Keats). Look, I’m not saying the secrets to life can be found in the Romantics and we need to look no further, but as poets they were pretty damn good, something to build on, not to abuse…Eliot called Yeats the greatest poet of the century, but I think Yeats is overrated…much more to discuss on this count, of course…

        Tom

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm

        This is you at perhaps your most reasonable sounding, Tom. If this was the guy I was discussing poetry with I’d be pretty happy about it. You’re still jumping to unreasonable conclusions though.

        Would you submit that who hated who is KIND OF a stupid argument in the first place? Would you submit that Pound did not HATE the Romantics, per se, but was merely less enthusiastic about them then he was about other things (I really believe that if Pound hated the Romantics he would have said so – he was not a person to hold much back)?

        For the record, Pound, Eliot and Yeats are, to my mind, the least interesting of the Modernist poets (but then, I’m an odd duck…). I don’t care if you don’t like them. I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their opinions and I’ll take Keats over Yeats 100% of the time. These are just facts, Tom.

        If you’re saying: “Look, I’m not saying the secrets to life can be found in the Romantics and we need to look no further, but as poets they were pretty damn good, something to build on, not to abuse” – then that’s fine.

        I think the “abuse” you’re talking about is more to do with the New Critics in specific than the Modernists in general. The Modernists were a hugely nebulous group – I would submit that considerably less than half of the major poets associated with Modernism actually HATED the Romantics. To take that to mean that all Modernists hated all Romantics is silly. Such illogical reasoning is beneath you. (as an aside, I also think many people make too much of Eliot and Pound being friends – that doesn’t mean they agreed on everything).

        If Pound was grew disinterested (again, I think the later works of Pound continue to be “Romantic” in some sense of the word… but that’s getting ahead of ourselves), Eliot was a jerk and Yeats had a big mouth that doesn’t change the fact that poets associated with Modernism largely did not hate the Romantics.

        If you want to have a nuanced discussion of how the specific Modernists who DID hate the Romantics influenced literary culture then I’m down but first you have to drop the ad hominem crap-ola.

        Mark

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

        More to the point, if you’re building an argument I’m not going to let you predicate it on blatant mistruth. If your argument is that Pound hated the Romantics – even though he loved Shelley, Coleridge, Heine and Melville (he did say that Byron was “a good satirist but a loose writer” which is actually sort of a fair assessment, I think) – because he didn’t write about them then I call bullshit. There are many who love Shelley that never write about him. If I was slightly more mobile I’d go down to the library and get the Pound letters – his respect for Shelley, Keats and Coleridge is clear even if it’s infrequently remarked upon.

        If you’re going to build an argument then I’d see it built to a standard higher than Scarriet normally requires. If you can’t include Pound then you don’t get to shoehorn him in for your own lazy convenience based on specious suppositions. If not being able to include Pound means the Modernists didn’t hate the Romantics then that’s all there is to say.

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm

        “If you want to have a nuanced discussion of how the specific Modernists who DID hate the Romantics influenced literary culture…”

        Yes, I do. And the first thing would probably be to ask 1) What did the Romantics represent and 2) why did these Modernists hate them? But I do think the Modernists, properly so called, were a clique, in other words, they had certain similar goals and motives (with some variation, obviously) and these goals and motives drove the ideas more than the other way around: you’ve always got different types obviously, those who have ideas, those who don’t, those who want to party, those who are more serious, those who have nervous breakdowns, those who don’t, those who switch allegiances, those who don’t, it gets very complicated, obviously, there are inter-clique squabbles and power grabs, but one has to stay with the thread, the thesis, and not lose it…unless of course the contradictions do finally overwhelm one, and then one has to give up the thesis…so far I’m still running with it…

        As for Pound, I’ve never heard Pound discussed in light of Shelley, Heine, Coleridge, etc….Pound is always used as a “make it new” cudgel or you hear talk of his Imagism or his Chinese translations or his Cantos and those he influenced like Olson and Zukovsky…Pound and Eliot didn’t wake up as young men one day as fully formed members of the great Modernist Cult: I’m more interested in the monsters which they became…Eliot’s early essays, for instance, are much more attractive to me…early Pound’s passing remarks can’t be taken too much to heart…

  7. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    “On Friday of last week, Billy Collins made the front page of my local paper”

    Also, I’m pretty sure this is a lie. Maybe front page of the art section but certainly not front paeg. What kind of awful newspaper – with everything that’s going on in the world – would give it’s front page to a puff piece about a poet that only old people read?

  8. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Also, contradiction?

    “Modernism was the first era or school to trash preceding eras—no matter the quality of the individual poets from those preceding eras.”

    “8. Samuel Johnson [hated] the ‘Metaphysical Poets.’ Johnson coined the term, and thought they were stiffs.”

    I think so. Johnson is just like Eliot!

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      The ball got rolling with John Ruskin, who hated the Renaissance and influenced and supported The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They were the first Modernists, and one of them was Ford Madox Ford’s grandfather. They also supported Whitman when his fame was waning in the U.S. You should read about them, Mark. In fact, you should read, Mark. It might help you.

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm

        And you just said the ball got rolling with Samuel Johnson… Make up your mind, Tom. It’s #8 on your clever and bullet-proof list.

        Don’t you read your own writing?

    • Duncan said,

      April 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      The Metaphysical Poets hardly constitute an era.

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

        True, and I don’t think Johnson was especially mean to the metaphysicals…but he didn’t swoon over them like Eliot…Poe also wrote of (and he used the term) Metaphysicals and wrote (among other things) that Coleridge was more metaphysical than the Metaphysicals…Poe was closer to Johnson’s view…Eliot’s notion that the poets who came after the Metaphysicals (including the Romantics) suffered from a ‘dissociation of sensibility’ is, I think, just nutty. But to get noticed, you need to come up with new ideas and Eliot sure tried. Pound couldn’t compete in this regard—frankly, I don’t think Pound had ideas…

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

        The composer John Cage in reading the Cantos for the first time late in life said he was shocked to find that Pound had only one idea that he spent 50 years expressing over and over…

  9. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    hehehe, that’s all you’ve got?

    Here, let me fix this for you, Tom:

    Tom said:

    “Byron loved Pope, Keats adored Shakespeare, Shelley loved Plato, Poe scolded his contemporaries, but ours is the first era where all “Modernists” join in dismissing the best that went before? [except for Johnson who totally wrote off the Metaphysical poets and the vast majority of the Modernists who did not, in fact, join in dismissing the best that went before in any way]”

    If you posted that it might have been the first accurate thing ever to grace the main page of Scarriet!

  10. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Also, isn’t this sort of a contradiction:

    “we should, at the very least, dump trash and keep the valuable”

    “Scarriet believes in the Multi-Coach Theory.”

    What’s valuable to you may not be so to me (and vice versa) – by insisting on a strictly defined canon chosen by an elite few aren’t lessening the number of Coaches (wow, what a bad metaphor… maybe your worst ever, Tom)?

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      Mark,

      Where did I write that I support a “strictly defined canon chosen by an elite few?” That’s what I’m against, in fact.

      As far as writers abusing other writers from the past, yes, it happens, but it only becomes a regular thing with the Modernists. I’m not sure why I have to explain this to you, but exceptions will crop up, but the hero still follows Ariadne’s thread and is not dismayed.

      Tom

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm

        Then who does “we” refer to in “we should, at the very least, dump trash and keep the valuable”?

        Who’s doing the dumping? If everyone is allowed to define their own canon then what exactly is getting dumped? and in what way does this dumping occur? Are you suggesting that “we” are all going to come to a consensus? I hope you’re not because that would be stupid.

        To your second point: I’ve done a pretty good job of proving that it isn’t a regular thing with Modernists (except in your imagination). Maybe you should respond specifically to that post, though. It’s copy-pasted above. Get on it, sir!

      • Mark said,

        April 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

        (I wonder if my modernism response and the simple questions that have been copied into this thread are just going to end up being more entries on the list of things Tom is too scared to respond to…)

  11. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Oh, and you still haven’t responded to my last point in our Modernism discussion, Tom. I copy-pasted it above. Thoughts?

    There were also those questions from the other thread that Christopher copy-pasted in here that you should probably answer when you have a minute.

    I’ll let you get to it.

    Mark

  12. Mark said,

    April 11, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    “these goals and motives drove the ideas more than the other way around” – someone might accuse you of the same thing, Tom. :)

    ~

    We’re getting cluttered upthread so I’m moving this to the bottom.

    The points you make are pretty fair. For me the “contradictions do finally overwhelm” the similarities. I think there’s a danger of overlooking the meaningful aspects of the text in favour of surface similarities. This goes for any generation of poets – you and I both know that Byron is not REALLY very much like Keats and that both need to be explored separately. A high-school student in a grade 12 lit class might lump them together but it’s not really meaningful beyond a certain convenience of discourse.

    There is definitely a discernable aesthetic to Modernism. If you don’t like it, that’s cool. What they did with that aesthetic, and the motivations for enacting it, are radically different and represent a hugely heterogeneous body of work (the same goes for the Romantics, though). Their body of work is often paradoxical but it’s not easily written off with the flashy buzzwords and cheap put-downs I so often find on Scarriet.

    I think Modernism comes from a kind of inferiority complex you see in many Americans (Perhaps that’s why the anxiety of influence is so much stronger on Eliot than it is on Yeats). Modernism is, as far as I can tell, the first literary movement really driven by American writers (ex-pat or otherwise).

    There is a distinct sense of “Let’s make something that’s OURS as opposed to THEIRS” (Pound loved Browning but said he had to stop reading him because Browning’s phrasing would creep into the Cantos). I think it’s too reductive to read this in such simple terms as “hatred” (especially when the majority of Modernists were vocal about not hating the Romantics). I think this idea of defining an American aesthetic is evident in the Zeitgeist of 20th Century America. Poets, whether they mean to or not, document their era. For good or ill the Modernists did so. I’m totally ready to move past them but I think that by engaging in the same sort of reductive discourse they did, we prevent that from happening.

    You attack Eliot’s dismissal of Romanticism for its vaguery but then you spend years dismissing Modernism in just as vague a manner. You’re building an argument now but I asked you probably 4 or 5 times to link me to a place where you’ve built this argument already and you haven’t. All I’ve found on Scarriet is ad hominem attacks and unjustifiable leaps in logic.

    We have to be better than Eliot, Tom. Our arguments can’t be as rash and tossed-off as his. When you say “Modernists hate Romantics” you bite off more than you can chew – more than you need to chew to make a compelling argument – and your point falls on deaf ears.

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      “Something that is OURS as opposed to THEIRS” —Mark, I’m glad you made that point, because that is the nub of the matter, in several ways: First: Literature belongs to the Past and History, and cannot be removed from it, no matter how much patriotic and contemporary fervor throbs in the young American Modernist. The ill-fated attempt to create “something that is OURS” crashed and burned, because you can’t make literature anew in a small window of time, you can’t force a nation as sprawling and historically significant as the United States into a little window of Modernist experimentation without creating ill-made, insignificant works which no one wants to read—and destroying liberal arts education in the progress. Second: The three major Modernists, Eliot, Pound and Yeats, lived primarily in London and Fascist Italy, not America, and certainly had nothing to do with creating “something that is OURS,” nor anything that was “new,” although Pound’s “new” became some kind of holy Writ. That left the door open for Pound’s friend WCW to be “the truly American Modernist,” along with E.E. Cummings, who was part of the Pound/Eliot circle, Cummings the more popular one, WCW eventually the more critically acclaimed, but the work of WCW is seriously wanting: formless,trivial,obscure,boring—the idea of building a nation’s literature on something like WCW is beyond silly. Who else? The bombastic Hart Crane? The watercolor lyric of Stevens? Marianne Moore? HD? This is what happens when the “new” is nothing more than a clique (with far more influence than they deserve) trying to force literary history into a small window of time: you get cranky manifesto-ism and a bored public, and when the dust settles, you have the same European-style elitism with which you began; in other words, nothing which is OURS.

      • Mark said,

        April 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm

        “Mark, I’m glad you made that point” – Tom, I’ve made lots of points – you’ve ignored almost all of them because your arguments have no merit.

        I know you’re not familiar with Chaucer be he was consciously and radically creating something that was “OURS” (in a “small window of time”) as opposed to “THEIRS” in his time by writing in English. Writing something new, or indicative of the era, is not the same as disregarding history or hating what came before. I do think it’s interesting and that the ramifications are huge but we’ll never get at anything worthwhile if you insist of making such reductive and worthless arguments, Tom.

        Writing of the Romantic period is easily and instantly discernable from the writing that came before it – this was a conscious decision by its practitioners.

        ~

        “The three major Modernists, Eliot, Pound and Yeats, lived primarily in London and Fascist Italy, not America” – Shelley and Browning also lived in Italy – were they somehow less English because of it? They weren’t.

        Even if some of the Modernists weren’t living in America they were still Americans and they were still making art that was consciously American.

        Obviously they left because they were embarrassed to be American – but all Americans are secretly embarrassed to be American. This is where the stereotype of the American loudmouth slathering on the phoney patriotism comes from. This is, ultimately, what makes Modernism so distinctly and honestly American.

        ~

        “the idea of building a nation’s literature on something like WCW is beyond silly” – the idea of building a nation’s literature on poetry in general is beyond silly because no one reads it. 99.999% of people probably couldn’t name one living poet. You can blame LangPo for this if you want but your “accessible” poetry (Wordsworth and the Romantics) is pretty much the only exposure anyone has to poetry and your “accessible” poetry is the reason no one has any interest in poetry.

        Highschool kids don’t read Silliman and Bernstein and get turned off to poetry – they read Wordsworth in school, they deem it to be “gay” and they never bother reading any more. Accessible poetry is 1, poetry can, should and must be 2 (LOL) if it wants to be read by anyone. Poetry must be modernized and a rehashed version of Romanticism won’t do any more than a rehashed version of Modernism.

      • Mark said,

        April 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

        For the record, though, I do like that you’ve ditched the rhetoric of “X hated Y” – sort of an admission on your part that your argument doesn’t hold water

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm

        Mark,

        Shelley’s Italy wasn’t run by Pound’s friend Mussolini.

        You barrel ahead with your arguments and miss all sorts of distinctions.

        Byron thought Wordsworth was a bore. Maybe kids should be taught Poe instead of Wordsworth. Poe made everything poetry. The Moderns’ poetry isn’t even poetry. I’m for looking at individual poets and placing less emphasis on eras; emphasis on history, yes, and seeing how “new” is often a false cry, but the Moderns, in the name of the “new,” were historically ignorant. The Moderns made it so “the world changed” in 1910 and the Victorians were silly and needed to be forgotten. This is dumb. Everything about “Modernism” and the Modernists is dumb. I’m reading about the 1890s now–what a fascinating time! Make it “new” Bah.

        Tom

      • Christopher Woodman said,

        April 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

        And this then? Too old or too new?

        Dated?

        Pretentious?

        Unpoetic?

        Should we cavil if words catch fire and burn us?

        I would Cease To Be

        God
        dissolved
        my mind – my separation.
        I cannot describe my intimacy with Him.
        How dependent is your body’s life on water and food and air?
        I said to God, “ I will always be unless you cease to Be,”
        And my Beloved replied, “And I
        would cease to Be
        if you
        died.

        …………………………………….St. Teresa of Avila

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm

        Christopher,

        “Too old, too new…” I don’t care. You see, it was the Modernists who started this ‘new’ thing and made it a big deal.

        As for that poem…it’s like a little body proclaiming a great truth, a bereft piece of writing professing something glorious. It’s comical almost. An epigram is not a poem. The Renaissance helped us realize the universe is Man-centered; it is silly to blindly worship God—we can be as God in our expressions and works. We don’t have to be satisfied. We can desire, and make things we desire.

        Tom

      • Christopher Woodman said,

        April 14, 2011 at 1:25 am

        The literary-historical aspects of this flippant response are dealt with by Mark in
        Comment 24 below.

        One of the reasons I posted St. Teresa’s odd but miraculous little poem was to show that Tom doesn’t know how to ride poems, just pose on the hobbyhorses stacked up in his nursery.

        Because what makes this small prayer a poem, of course, is the unexpected word “Beloved” — and suddenly whatever you want to call it soars and leaves a human being in the widest existential space, and speechless.

        But Tom isn’t a reader or a human being — and he’s NEVER speechless!.

        Try him on the phrase “so much depends upon” and all you’ll hear about is Emerson, Pound, line breaks and chickens. Tom stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the words at the beginning of that poem that make ALL little nothings in the world significant.

        Christopher

      • Christopher Woodman said,

        April 14, 2011 at 5:54 am

        Tom’s reading of “I Would Cease To Be” is reductive when not simply wrong.

        1.) “It’s like a little body proclaiming a great truth,” he says, “something glorious” — yet the poem achieves just the opposite. It sets up the religious truism that the soul exists only in God and then astonishingly reverses it!

        This is called paradox, Tom.

        2.) “It’s comical.”

        No, Tom, erotic! (‘shock!’)

        3.) “The Renaissance helped us realize the universe is Man-centered; it is silly to blindly worship God.”

        The poem is about the next step after this sort of childish fixation with the dogmatic, but Tom’s nowhere near ready for it.

        4.)”We can be as God in our expressions and works.” Not so, says the poem, only as mortals, and lovers. (Irony!!!)

        5.) “We can desire, and make things we desire?” (I can’t find this anywhere in the poem — this is “mumbo-jumbo” )

        Christopher

      • Mark said,

        April 14, 2011 at 6:19 am

        It really is a wonderful poem, Christopher.

        I’m not sure Tom knows what an epigram is.

  13. April 12, 2011 at 12:58 am

    I think point number three in the post above is quite telling:

    A guy Tom hates hates a guy Tom hates. Hmmm.

  14. April 12, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Tom writes in the article:

    Scarriet had it’s best week ever last week (in terms of views). Ron Silliman comparing Billy Collins to Edgar Guest (and us pointing it out) began the firestorm.

    What’s interesting at this point is that once again people have flocked to Scarriet for the intensity of the discussion about poetry, NOT to celebrate Tom’s skill at throwing poems around fast and furiously on a basketball court — a childish travesty which generates no discussion at all, like popcorn and mid-day television.

    Which is where Nooch comes in, filling in the Recent Comments list as if Scarriet were jumping, as if all of us were on the edge of our seats chanting MORE MADNESS!

    Exactly the same thing happened last year as the discussion heated up over Tom’s insensitivity to poetry in the first basketball series. Up to that point there had been a cordial relationship between Tom and myself. Each prospective article was carefully considered by both of us while still in draft, and we respected each other and our individual interests. We put in a lot of care on the timing of each article too, usually allowing about 3 days between them — we took very seriously the commentary each article generated, and if it was moving gave it even more space, or found a new way built on it.

    And then all of a sudden Tom started his Sport posts — no consultation with his partner, no warning, no drafts, just pop, pop, pop — like rabbits!

    And Nooch appeared — yes, right out of the hat!

    I complained bitterly, and Tom accused me of standing in the way of what people really wanted on Scarriet — fun, in-your-face rough-house, competition, losers, winners, and of course statistics.

    And you all know the rest. My interest in poetry as a sensitive art was dismissed as “pedantic,” my respect for nuance as “professorial” — and ambiguity, paradox, and metaphor were, duh, just modernist crap. In other words, Christopher was outed as a “New Critic!”

    And I’m still sore a year later, though this discussion does help.

    Thanks for following it in such numbers.

    Christopher

  15. April 12, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Tom wrote in the I Hate You article:

    This is the only task of poetry: sorting good from bad, whether composing, publishing, or reviewing; in truth, all are critics all the time, and except for inspiration, divine and invisible—which belongs to a separate realm—this is the only business of poetry: sorting good from bad. All we mortals do is sort—honestly and truthfully—or not.

    Crap, Tom — that’s all you do with poetry as it means nothing to you personally. You glance at it, scan it, pigeon-hole it, and then file it away for the next food-fight or article — but you never read it. A poem means nothing to you but its club, style, and provenance, that’s all. Yes, you leave a little space there for “inspiration, divine and invisible,” but you never allow whatever that means to touch you what is more change your life.

    And I know the very thought of “meaning” in poetry makes you shudder. Poems should just give pleasure, you insist, as did “the Romantics” — which is your shorthand for poetry as sugar and spice and everything nice, i.e. just “song.” And that in your view is what the Modernists hate!

    ~

    It used to be like this, at least more than it is today: universities taught and collected the best, and the collecting and the teaching were essentially the same enterprise: sorting out the heavens, sorting with our backpacks in the wilderness, sorting the lines and poets who went before.

    Utter nonsense. There didn’t used to be anything of the sort. In universities you learned Latin and Greek and maybe a little Anglo-Saxon and even Chaucer, but Poetry was not a subject you “studied” any more than what we now call Sociology was studied, or Mythology, or Religion, or Education, God forbid, or Drama or Psychology.

    Poetry was what you did and/or read in real life — a little like frisbee is in American colleges today, drinking micro-brews in the Ivies, playing poker at Michigan State.

    Because very few people went to university at all, don’t forget — just a handful, most of whom came from environments where poetry didn’t have to be taught because it was already there on the tables in what you called the Library. Who needed to go to university to get what you’d already got?

    Christopher

  16. April 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

    [That got mangled a bit in the last paragraph -- sorry.]

    Because very few people went to university at all, don’t forget — just a handful, most of whom came from environments where poetry didn’t have to be taught because it was already there laid out on the tables in the family ‘Library.’ Periodicals, subscriptions, specialist publications, limited editions hot off the press — for those who had the money to subscribe, and the leisure to enjoy them.

    James Boswell was astonished to find all this plus even current continental publications in the Libraries of the manor houses he visited with Dr Johnson — in the Hebrides! And ‘everybody’ was discussing the new stuff too, he points out — but make no mistake about it, he was referring to a miniscule percentage of the population, even in Scotland!

    Moving on, even when there were universities available nobody was an English Major, God forbid, not even Pope, not even Poe, not even Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett, Emily Dickinson or Herman Melville.

    Here’s a potted Bio of Robert Browning — instructive:

    Robert Browning was born on May 7, 1812, in Camberwell, England. His mother was an accomplished pianist and a devout evangelical Christian. His father, who worked as a bank clerk, was also an artist, scholar, antiquarian, and collector of books and pictures. His rare book collection of more than 6,000 volumes included works in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Much of Browning’s education came from his well-read father. It is believed that he was already proficient at reading and writing by the age of five. A bright and anxious student, Browning learned Latin, Greek, and French by the time he was fourteen. From fourteen to sixteen he was educated at home, attended to by various tutors in music, drawing, dancing, and horsemanship. At the age of twelve he wrote a volume of Byronic verse entitled Incondita, which his parents attempted, unsuccessfully, to have published. In 1825, a cousin gave Browning a collection of Shelley’s poetry; Browning was so taken with the book that he asked for the rest of Shelley’s works for his thirteenth birthday, and declared himself a vegetarian and an atheist in emulation of the poet. Despite this early passion, he apparently wrote no poems between the ages of thirteen and twenty. In 1828, Browning enrolled at the University of London, but he soon left, anxious to read and learn at his own pace. The random nature of his education later surfaced in his writing, leading to criticism of his poems’ obscurities.http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/182

    Even in the big family houses in Stockbridge, Massachusettes in the 1920s the poetry was laid out in the ‘Libraries’ at home (I still have some of the first editions from the various branches of my own family who lived there), but the cooks, grooms, housemaids and gardeners weren’t in on the literary action any more than the farm hands, factory workers, and craftsmen who made up 95% of the population.

    T.S.Eliot and his friends didn’t take English 101, Tom, don’t worry, and James Laughlin hadn’t even finished his sophmore year at Harvard when he founded New Directions. Thom Gunn didn’t attend lectures in Modern Poetry while he was at King’s either simply because there weren’t any! I sometimes sat at the feet of F.R.Leavis, I.A.Richards, T.R.Henn and C.S.Lewis while I was there too — sometimes in a quadrangle and sometimes in somebody’s rooms. In armchairs. Drinking sherry.

    So what do you mean “universities taught and collected the best,” as if there was a more cogent, less parochial sort of University English Department before the New Critics?

    Your C.T. has got your knickers in knots!

    Christopher

  17. james bagger said,

    April 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    as a youth soccer parent, former player, and coach, your coach theory is interesting. but know this, most youth soccer players are taught not to listen to anybody on the sideline except their coach. also, you may also want to note, in your theory, that most players, in the midst of an actual game, hear nothing except their own teammates, and perhaps not even them.

    • Mark said,

      April 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm

      “your coach theory is interesting”

      You’re being pretty generous, James. I would have said his “coach theory” was “incoherent”

      • Briggs Seekins said,

        April 13, 2011 at 1:03 am

        Actually, the coach theory isn’t incoherent so much as absurd. The very worst aspect of all organized youth sports programs are the parents who try to “help” by shouting their expertise all game long.

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 13, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      James,

      The subject is an interesting one.

      Some children take to sports at a very early age: scoring a goal seems second nature to them; other children are clearly not interested in whether a goal is scored, or not.

      Are the goal-scorers “selfish,” are they on the road to ‘dumb jock-dom,” or, are they only “playing the game” and participating in group-dynamics in a healthy way?—or, are the children who don’t seem interested in competing during the game the “selfish” ones, the “socially unhealthy” ones—or, are the non-scorers superior because they don’t put their hearts and souls into a “mere game?” And how should a coach treat these two types? And the many sub-categories of those types?

      My daughter, who plays soccer, is nine. She’s the fastest girl on the team, but her moods change as far as being competitive. Most of the time she doesn’t seem to care, and often doesn’t score a goal. Once, however, when I didn’t watch the game, her mother reported that she scored four times. The coach has a daughter on the team, the smallest girl on the team, but a very aggressive scorer: she innocently announced to her teammates (I happened to be in earshot) last weekend before the game as the team was warming up: “My Daddy says he will give me twelve dollars if I score two goals today.” (She scored one goal. They lost, 2-1)

      I do want my daughter to play well, and I notice fundamental errors she makes, and so I teach her a little on my own; she does resist, as is her style with me, but I notice part of her listens, and improves, slowly but surely. I wouldn’t feel the need to to do this if it were not for the fact that the coach simply can’t teach all the girls all the skills they need, so that all the skills they need sink in.

      As for yelling during the game, if the kids block it out, fine. But I notice that when parents are yelling encouragement, the children respond, especially when they are young and tend to falter and flag easily, and with urgent cries in their ear they do play with more gusto and confidence. If occasionally a piece of advice is thrown in (criticism, coaching, or whatever you call it) and it’s not done too harshly, again, I don’t see the harm—and perhaps it might help. Where I do draw the line, is when parents start ragging on the ref, who in these games, is sometimes quite young. And of course there should be respect and kindness towards the other team, and I don’t believe if a child on another team, in the excitement of play, pushes your child you should get freaked out—there, too, I support calmness and understanding. I have heard parents indulge in ref-hating and criticism of the other team—I strictly try never to indulge in this, especially not out-loud.

      Tom

      • james bagger said,

        April 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

        tom, your youth sports philosophy seems fairly well adjusted and correct to me. i too have problems with the culture of negative of ref-hating, even more now that my 15 yr old son is reffing for cash on the weekends. i too have been known to offer cash and/or priviledge incentives to my children for excellent performance in school or on the field, usually in areas where they might need some improvement. for example, over the weekend, after my 13 yr old daughter, a central defender on highly competitive soccer team, was exhibiting fear and bad technique when attempting to head incoming balls punted from the opposing team’s goalie. for the next game, and on the condition that she not tell anybody about it, we negotiated an incentive of 10 dollars per successfully timed, well-struck head ball. she managed to get one. i gave her 8 dollars and took her out to breakfast at our favorite diner. this week we will practice a bit more on our own too, and the incentive may or may not still be on the table this weekend. one cannot expect rewards and incentives all the time, but i certainly do believe if you can afford to offer them on occasion, they do work well at getting kids even more focused and motivated on the task at hand.

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

        Great story about yr 13 year old, James. Yes, I think I would need some incentive to hit high-speed soccer balls with my head…

      • wfkammann said,

        April 14, 2011 at 1:56 am

        Tom,

        Excellent piece on adolescent athletics. (You even imply you’ve sired a child. BRAVO!) It’s clear that this is a subject about which you know something first hand and something that moves your heart and emotions as well as your mind. Keep it up.

        It’s “A step to the right” Tom.

        It’s astounding, time is fleeting
        Madness takes its toll
        But listen closely, not for very much longer
        I’ve got to keep control

        I remember doing the Time Warp
        Drinking those moments when
        The blackness would hit me and the void would be calling
        Let’s do the time warp again…
        Let’s do the time warp again!

        It’s just a jump to the left
        And then a step to the right
        With your hands on your hips
        You bring your knees in tight
        But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
        Let’s do the Time Warp again!

        It’s so dreamy, oh fantasy free me
        So you can’t see me, no not at all
        In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention
        Well-secluded, I see all
        With a bit of a mind flip
        You’re there in the time slip
        And nothing can ever be the same
        You’re spaced out on sensation, like you’re under sedation
        Let’s do the Time Warp again!

        Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think
        When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink
        He shook me up, he took me by surprise
        He had a pickup truck and the devil’s eyes.
        He stared at me and I felt a change
        Time meant nothing, never would again
        Let’s do the Time Warp again!

        Don’t let that brainy Mark intimidate you with his 100 questions. You don’t have to answer him. YOU ARE THE EDITOR OF THIS SITE!! The only question is, “why did Christopher ever give it to you?” Oh, that’s right, Madness, March Madness and Noochie, Noochie spam.

        No one competes with you in that category, my friend, and now we’ve found another niche. Sports parents and coaching of adolescents. There must be 1,000’s of Rose Thompson Hovicks out there of every stripe who would love to put their oar in in response to your heartfelt comments. Sports parents, stage mothers, think Van Cliburn, Bobbie Fischer….. Yes, this is the new direction for this blog. Something you’re passionate about. Full Steam Ahead—-

      • Link support said,

        April 14, 2011 at 9:00 am

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Thompson_Hovick

  18. wfkammann said,

    April 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Why did I laugh? I know this being’s lease—
    My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads:
    Yet could I on this very midnight cease,
    And the world’s gaudy ensigns see in shreds.
    Verse, fame, and beauty are intense indeed,
    But death intenser—death is Life’s high meed.

  19. Life Support said,

    April 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    .

    The Fish

    The first fish
    I ever caught
    would not lie down
    quiet in the pail
    but flailed and sucked
    at the burning
    amazement of the air
    and died
    in the slow pouring off
    of rainbows. Later
    I opened his body and separated
    the flesh from the bones
    and ate him. Now the sea
    is in me: I am the fish, the fish
    glitters in me; we are
    risen, tangled together, certain to fall
    back to the sea. Out of pain,
    and pain, and more pain
    we feed this feverish plot, we are nourished
    by the mystery.

    ………………………………Mary Oliver

  20. Mark said,

    April 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Also:

    “Christopher Woodman said,
    April 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    And as I feel I made a mess of the last thread, with a little help from my friends and Ruth Lily (whom I love, but nevertheless), there’s outstanding this:

    Mark said,
    April 11, 2011 at 2:33 am

    “The stuff about the Modernists is just a minor beef, though. It’s an example of the low standards of discourse you [Tom] allow/encourage on Scarriet. Here are the important questions as I see them:

    “1) You have been accused of not finding any value in poetry, how do you respond? Has your life been enriched in any way by your familiarity with poetry or is it just something to pass the time for you?

    “2) What, in your mind, is the point of Scarriet? Is it to improve poetry or to wallow in its failings? Is it something else entirely? Can you link to anything you’ve written that is indicative of the spirit of Scarriet as well as being substantial, based on concrete points and in some way worthwhile?

    “3) How do you respond to charges that you are nothing but a common internet troll? Is such an assessment fair or unfair and why?

    “4) How do you justify the hyper-reductive view of literature you present here (that literature be purely sentimental and that your reviews need not be based on facts or even on having finished reading the work you are purporting to review)? Are you content merely to pass off your crude speculations as facts? Why or why not?

    “5) You’ve repeatedly attacked Bernstein’s “Official Verse Culture” and Silliman’s “School of Quietude” for being too vague but your own attacks on “incoherent” poetry are just as vague (perhaps more so). What do you think about this seeming hypocrisy?

    “6) Where do you realistically see poetry going in the 21st century? Where would you ideally like to see poetry going in the 21st century? What have you done to help facilitate any forward movement?

    “What say you, Tom? There are no right or wrong answers here. Answer as many as you can (the first one is probably less important to me personally but I think it DOES warrant being asked).

    Mark”

  21. Anonymous said,

    April 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    “You barrel ahead with your arguments and miss all sorts of distinctions.”

    So “Modernists hate Romantics” represents a subtle and nuanced reading that is rich in important distinctions? Don’t be the pot that calls the kettle black, Tom.

    If the Modernists thought the poetry of the Victorians was stale then it’s understandable why (though I really like Tennyson et al) but even within the Victorians, Browning was a major influence on both Pound and HD (and they both said so). Pound also loved the Rossettis. Even if the “official verse culture” (sorry, couldn’t resist) of the Victorians was a problem, there remained individual poets that were championed by the Modernists. It’s not so black-and-white as X hates Y.

    You say: “The Moderns made it so “the world changed” in 1910″ – Here’s where it gets interesting for me, though and maybe if you ditch the ad hominem we can have a real discussion about this: the world DID change in the early 20th Century. In terms of science (Einstein’s paper on light was 1904, I think), religion (with the ramifications of “God is Dead” really beginning to be felt in earnest), psychology (and this can’t be understated), anthropology/archaeology (the advances of which had major implications on linguistics), and especially technology (that WWI was the major war to have pictures taken of it and WWII was the first major war to have videos brought home certain realities that had never before been fully realized by the public at large). How would it be possible for these radical changes to NOT be reflected in the poetry? Should poets have just continued as if nothing happened?

    More to the point, if Modernist poetry doesn’t meet your standards of what poetry “is” because it uses expressionistic line breaks, then what of late Holderlin? If the imagery is less sensical or linear then I would argue they were merely following the lead of Keats’ “Negative Capability” (and it’s too bad Keats died before he really got to explore this, I think the formal and radical implications of this would have begun to impact upon Keats work in a really interesting way had he lived long enough. Keats could have been the first Surrealist!). The continuum is clear even if a jump occurs. I would concede that almost all of them bit off more than they could chew but even that’s sort of interesting when properly contextualized.

    I would accuse you, sir, of ignoring distinctions and subtleties. You’re missing the forest for the trees by insisting that the history of literature be a gentle ride – the road is bumpy, Tom. If you hold on tight you won’t fall off the cart.

    • Mark said,

      April 14, 2011 at 3:55 am

      Oh and Tom, I was hoping for a response from you on this point as well. There’s been some lateral movement so maybe you missed it.

  22. Mark said,

    April 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Shoot!

    I keep forgetting to fill in my name.

    Sorry, all. The above post is my response to Tom’s last post.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  23. Mark said,

    April 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Oh and, just in case you forgot:

    Mark said,
    April 11, 2011 at 2:33 am

    “The stuff about the Modernists is just a minor beef, though. It’s an example of the low standards of discourse you [Tom] allow/encourage on Scarriet. Here are the important questions as I see them:

    1) You have been accused of not finding any value in poetry, how do you respond? Has your life been enriched in any way by your familiarity with poetry or is it just something to pass the time for you?

    2) What, in your mind, is the point of Scarriet? Is it to improve poetry or to wallow in its failings? Is it something else entirely? Can you link to anything you’ve written that is indicative of the spirit of Scarriet as well as being substantial, based on concrete points and in some way worthwhile?

    3) How do you respond to charges that you are nothing but a common internet troll? Is such an assessment fair or unfair and why?

    4) How do you justify the hyper-reductive view of literature you present here (that literature be purely sentimental and that your reviews need not be based on facts or even on having finished reading the work you are purporting to review)? Are you content merely to pass off your crude speculations as facts? Why or why not?

    5) You’ve repeatedly attacked Bernstein’s “Official Verse Culture” and Silliman’s “School of Quietude” for being too vague but your own attacks on “incoherent” poetry are just as vague (perhaps more so). What do you think about this seeming hypocrisy?

    6) Where do you realistically see poetry going in the 21st century? Where would you ideally like to see poetry going in the 21st century? What have you done to help facilitate any forward movement?

    What say you, Tom? There are no right or wrong answers here. Answer as many as you can (the first one is probably less important to me personally but I think it DOES warrant being asked).”

  24. Anonymous said,

    April 13, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    thomasbrady said,
    April 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    “Too old, too new…” I don’t care. You see, it was the Modernists who started this ‘new’ thing and made it a big deal.”

    I would argue that it was Chaucer who did so by writing in English

    “An epigram is not a poem.”

    I’ll ignore the rest of your points, which are too moronic to warrant discussion, and just say that when you drop this crap you’re taking the easy way out – why are you so intent on being defined by your cowardice, Tom?

    You’re full of statements about what “is not a poem” but earlier you say that Poe made everything poetry. Did you mean everything except epigrams? Why do you refuse to define your terms? Statements like this are bullshit, Tom. Do you have nothing of value to add to the discourse here?

    If you can’t say what “IS” a poem then you have little ground to speak on what “IS NOT”

    • Mark said,

      April 14, 2011 at 3:56 am

      Oh and this point as well:

      “You’re full of statements about what “is not a poem” but earlier you say that Poe made everything poetry. Did you mean everything except epigrams? Why do you refuse to define your terms? Statements like this are bullshit, Tom. Do you have nothing of value to add to the discourse here?

      If you can’t say what “IS” a poem then you have little ground to speak on what “IS NOT””

  25. Mark said,

    April 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Me again.

    Sorry all. Why can’t I remember to type my bloody name in?!?!?!

    Mark

  26. April 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Because you have no real name?

    • Mark said,

      April 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm

      haha,

      I’m actually an AI construct sent from the future to insist that Tom stop making such terrible, unsupportable points on his lame little blog.

      Cheers,
      Unit #00018384…

      I mean,
      “Mark”

  27. Mark said,

    April 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Still no response from Tom to any of the points I’ve made…

    Why, it’s almost as if he can’t answer for what he’s written because he’s a hack and an attention-whore…

    Surely it can’t be as simple as that, though.

  28. Mark said,

    April 14, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I have no beef with WF’s post (I’m not even a Rocky Horror fan and I still like that song!) except to say that I don’t have “100 questions.” I know you were being funny, WF, but it was never my intention to come in and bombard Tom nor am I just looking to drill holes in Tom’s boat for no reason (though Tom does that to Silliman et al regularly). Everything I’ve confronted Tom with was pertinent (I feel) and representative of the lax standards here. I didn’t come to Scarriet looking to find fault – it was there in every sentence of the first article I read and the more digging I do the more unsubstantiated, specious, fallacious and outright untrue statements I come across. If Tom considers himself a “reporter” then why won’t he stand behind his arguments?

    I didn’t want Tom to be able to accuse me of asking too many questions which is why I compiled the short list up thread. That short list of questions could have been (and can be) answered with 10 or 15 sentences on Tom’s part.

    Ultimately though the only question I have is whether or not Tom will be a man and stand behind what he writes. His silence on the issue is his answer.

    • Wfkammann said,

      April 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      AMEN

      Like most bullies-just a wimp. Tom, you once bullied me into a translation of Heine. Couldn’t we bully you into a few straight answers?

      • April 15, 2011 at 1:32 am

        For those of you who don’t remember, this is what it took for Tom to get an answer from W.F.Kammann:

        thomasbrady said,
        March 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm

        I would love to see your translation, Bill!

        .

        Wfkammann said,
        March 29, 2010 at 10:56 pm

        Tom,
        I would love to believe you had actually understood the German.

        .

        thomasbrady said,
        March 29, 2010 at 11:03 pm

        Translation, please.

        DENOUEMENT: March 29, 2010 at 11.03 pm to March 30, 2010 at 1.36 am — two hours and 33 minutes!

        wfkammann said,
        March 30, 2010 at 1:36 am

        The Lorelei

        I can’t untangle a meaning.
        Deep sadness hems me in.
        An ancient folk song’s keening
        Enchants my soul again.
        The air is cool in the evening
        And gently flows the Rhine.
        The cliffs and the precipice beaming
        In gasps of twilight sunshine.

        The loveliest virgin sits listening
        Up there, so young; so fair.
        Her golden jewels are glistening;
        She combs her golden hair.
        Her golden comb moves slowly.
        She sings a song to the sea.
        It echoes a plaintive; holy
        Hypnotic melody.

        The sailor below in the river
        Is flooded with feelings of pain.
        The rocks and the shoals are a shiver.
        Look up! Can’t you see? All is vain.
        I’ve faith that the waves will uncover
        The ship and the sailor at dawn.
        The Lorelei’s song was his lover;
        The Lorelei’s singing goes on.

        ………………………..Heinrich Heine, trans. by W.F.Kammann

        So, Tom, why shouldn’t Mark get an answer to his questions after so many new threads and whole days? What’s the difference — beside the enormous amount of skill and chutzpah it takes to come up with a spontaneous, off-the-cuff, clocked, check-mate translation?

        ~

        You drove me off the site with your deafness to questions. Is that what you’re waiting for here, for everybody to leave? To have your pulpit safely settled in your own deaf heaven?

        Or is it Hide Park?

        Christopher


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