SCARRIET REVEALS MYSTERY OF YOUNG MAN AND DARK LADY IN SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS

W.H. Auden spoke for many when he wrote:

The only semblance of order [in the Sonnets] is a division into two unequal heaps—Sonnets 1 to 126 are addressed to a young man, assuming, which is probable but not certain, that there is only one young man addressed, and Sonnets 127-154 are addressed to a dark-haired woman.

Note how Auden’s skepticism regarding the first “heap” (“assuming…there is only one young man…”) does not extend to the second (“are addressed to a dark-haired woman.”)

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare sums up the common view of the ‘Dark Lady’ section:

The next sonnets, 127-152, are known as the ‘Dark Lady’ group, addressed to or concerned with an unfashionably dark-haired, dark-eyed, and dark-complexioned mistress. For the most part, these poems reproach her: she is a tyrant, black in deeds as well as in looks, (131) and an adultress (152); she has seduced the poet’s friend (133-4); the poet is foolish to love anyone so obviously unworthy (137, 147-152) and is clearly deceiving himself (138), asking her in one sonnet to confess her infidelity (139) and in the next to say she loves him even though this is not true (140). The poet, aware of the delusions of lust but unable to avoid its trap (129), woos his mistress regardless with a series of sexual puns on the name ‘Will’ (135-6, 143); he is torn between a ‘man right fair’ and a ‘woman colored ill’, suspecting they are lovers (144).  –Stanley Wells

We know all sorts of things about this ‘dark lady.’  She is “unfashionably dark-haired, dark-eyed and dark-complexioned,” she’s “a tyrant,” an “adultress,” she has “seduced the poet’s friend,” and so forth.

Such is the conventional wisdom, and there is even an historical figure, Emilia Bassano Lanier, who is a much-named candidate for this ‘dark lady’ of the Sonnets.

Scarriet, however, has solved the puzzle, but in order to do so, we had to 1) actually read the Sonnets and 2) trash the conventional wisdom in the process.

It wasn’t hard.

It will be hard to swallow, though, since so many scholars’ reputations are based on pure trash.

Pity the scholars, because not only is the Dark Lady going to be blown to bits, but the so-called ‘Young Man,’ as well.

There is no Dark Lady.  There is no Young Man.

How could so many have been so wrong on so famous a work for so long?

So here’s what one finds when one actually reads The Sonnets, all 154 of them, in the sequence, as published, in 1609, and read by millions since then:

The Sonnets are gender-neutral. 

119 of the first 126 sonnets (the so-called Young Man sonnets) do not specify a gender.   Sonnet #7 puns on sun/son and #13’s “You had a father, let your son say so,” but this belongs to Shakespeare’s breeding/increase theme which dominates the first 14 sonnets, a theme which Shakespeare never abandons.

The sequence is gender-neutral until #20, however:

The knotty #20 and its “master mistress” is accompanied by #21’s “So it is not with me as with that Muse” and “let me truly write and my child is as fair…” and “let them say more that like of hearsay well/I will not praise that purpose not to sell” referring back to #20’s “love’s use:” the commerce of love—procreation and “increase” (#1).

“So it is not with me as with that Muse…” (#21) is just one indication that Shakespeare composed the Sonnets not as a ‘person of interest’ in the scholars’ imagined soap-opera, but from a loftier perspective, as a God participating in the human, not as a human participating with the God-like, or struggling with romance, or other short-lived concerns.  The aim of the Sonnets is much higher than that.  We must not only note the gender and the content of the Sonnets themselves but get the perspective straight: Shakespeare is the Muse in these sonnets, or even the Muse of the Muse of these Sonnets.  The Sonnets are not impressionistic poetry.  Shakespeare, the philosopher, has something to say.

Sonnet #21 refers to “any mother’s child” and #22 features “as tender nurse her babe from faring ill.” The business of progeny, lines of descent, lines of verse, “eternal lines,” (#18) dominates the early sonnets. So when does the famous Young Man enter?  We have to wait until #33: “Even so my sun one early morn did shine/With all triumphant splendor on my brow;/But out alack, he was but one hour mine” to find a specific reference to what is possibly a Young Man or male friend or male lover, yet “sun” has us wondering if “sun” is not “son,” since Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, died at the age of eleven. The “he was but one hour mine” far more likely refers to Shakespeare’s son than it does to a male lover, if we note the words of #33 itself and also note that the child is an important theme in the whole sequence.  Reading #33 in its entirety, the scenario of grief for a lost son jumps out at us, with the couplet stating the poet, even in his grief, will not lose faith “in heaven’s sun” even though “suns of the world may stain.”

It isn’t till sonnets #40, 41, and 42, the ‘friend and mistress betray the poet’ poems, that we finally get some sort of  ‘story’ that involves a ‘male friend’ and the poet’s mistress.  But the mistress is at play here, too, in the first definintive glimpse of the Young Man. We forget that until this point, for the first third of the so-called Young Man sequence, there is no Young Man story whatsoever. Not only that: in #42 Shakespeare informs us that, “my friend and I are one.”  Have the scholars simply made up a story which does not exist?  If we simply read the sonnets as Shakespeare wrote them, we have to say,  yes. 

In the sonnets leading up to the ‘betrayal’ triptych (40-42) we have a lot of platonist mathematics (“we two must be twain although our undivided loves are one” #36) and the parent-child theme is still going strong (“as a decrepit father takes delight to see his active child do deeds of youth”#37) so why the sudden lurid romance of the supposed young man cheating with the poet’s mistress?  Not only does it not make sense in the sequence, it also doesn’t make sense that if a ‘story’ is so vital, it would be confined to just a few poems; discerned through Shakespeare’s teasing and philosophical words, we see that the ‘love triangle’ of #42 is not even that: there are four characters: thou, her, the poet, and a friend (who gets the mistress, not the ‘thou,’) and then the triptych ends: “she loves but me alone!”  So where is this ‘young man sleeping with his mistress’ story?  It doesn’t exist.  It merely lives in the feverish imaginings of a blind pedant (or two).

#54 repeats the theme of Chapter 2 (Chapter 1, the first 14 sonnets are about procreation) in which the poet’s verse (rather than children) makes the youth immortal.

#63 finds a male pronoun again, but in terms of a mistress: “his beauty in these black lines be seen” is the precise theme of the so-called ‘Dark Lady’ sequence, which opens, “In the old age black was not counted fair” (#127).  The “his” is not important; Shakespeare is keeping beauty alive with his poetry, repeating the theme of #53, which looks back to #16-18. To think that a genius like Shakespeare is thinking of a brunette is absurd; he’s a bit more clever than that.  The so-called ‘Young Man’ sequence contains more examples of the ‘beauty as black’ theme than references to a young man.

If we didn’t get it the first time, Shakespeare repeats the trope in #65, without the male pronoun—as in 95% of the ‘Young Man’ sequence: “in black ink my love may still shine bright.”

Not that “my love” has to be a woman. Shakespeare intentionally eludes gender and biography and real names in the Sonnets because it’s obviously not his ultimate concern. Shakespeare’s use of the phrase “my love” is tricky; we can never assume he means ‘my  (male) lover.’  He might be referring to a son, or a child.  He might be referring to himself: “O no, thy love, though much, is not so great./It is my love that keeps mine eye awake,/Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,/To play the watchman ever for thy sake.”  (#61)  No male pronoun in this sonnet, either.

In fact, after #67 and 68, which speak of a “him,” but in highly grandiose religious terms, the male pronoun is absent for the rest of the ‘Young Man’ sequence.

The only exception is two rival poet sonnets (#80,86), and the rival poet may be Shakespeare himself, who drops self-reflexive hints everywhere.  He tells the Muse what to do (#100) and explains what his Muse does (#21), for instance.

Shakespeare makes April a male, and flowers, too (#98,99).  In #93 Shakespeare calls himself “husband” and refers to “Eve’s apple.”  In #53 he compares “you” to “Adonis” and “Helen” as one of the ” millions of strange shadows” that “on you tend,” not using the male pronoun in that poem either.  Typically, the “you” is described as a God, not a mortal.

In #108 we get “sweet boy,” but this poem, like #33, sounds like it could very well be an ode to the poet’s son: “like prayers divine,/I must each day say o’er the very same;/Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,/Even as when first I hallowed thy fair name.”  “Hallowed thy fair name” certainly implies a baptism, and the sun is “no old thing old” in #76: “Far as the sun is daily new and old, /So is my love still telling what is told.”  And we know Shakespeare loves to pun on son/sun.

There is no male pronoun after #108, except for that last poem (#126) in the ‘Young Man’ sequence, which clearly refers to cupid.

This brings us to the so-called ‘Dark Lady’ group (#127-152), which indulges in the happy pun of black ink, seen already in #27 (“makes black night beauteous”), #63 and #65 as already mentioned, together with the numerous references to day and light v. night and darkness, and there’s also multiple punning on dark “deeds,” documents (with black ink) and actions.

Much is made by scholars of #144, because it seems to explicitly recap the ‘betray’ triptych (#40-42).  In #144, we have a “man right fair” and a “woman colored ill” and “I guess one angel in another’s hell.”

#41, 42, and #144 make up the scholars’ trump card.  Without these three poems, the ‘Poet’s Male Friend Sleeps With Poet’s Mistress!’ story collapses.  To extrapolate a feverish autobiographical tale from The Sonnets’ metaphorically philosophical coolness is a mug’s game.  Shakespeare’s “To win me soon to hell, my female evil/Tempteth my better angel from my side” (#144) is  plainly a calculated morality play, not a sweaty confession.

Scholars err in assuming the “woman colored ill” is the Dark Lady; this is both a misreading and a dumbing down of Shakespeare, the sly master.   First, there’s no “black” in #144.  Secondly, the “hell” in #144 is the same “hell” we see in #129 (“Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame”) .  The “woman colored ill” is the same as #21’s “So it is not with me as with that Muse,/ Stirred by a painted beauty to his verse” and not the Dark Lady, for look how Shakespeare’s mistress is described in the first of the Dark Lady sonnets (#127):

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name.
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slandered with a bastard shame.
For since each hand hath put on nature’s pow’r,
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bow’r,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Sland’ring creation with a false esteem.
  Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
  That every tongue says beauty should look so.

There is no “hell” of sonnets #129 and #144.  Instead, there is the “mourning” of poetry which exists because of separation and grief, the “black ink” that pathetically strives to keep beauty green—because of death.

And we also get Plato (Shakespeare’s philosophical Muse) right here: “art’s false borrowed face.”

The boy is Shakespeare’s son.

The Rival poet is Shakespeare.

The Black Lady is a pun on black ink.

The Sonnets are witty Platonist philosophy, (see “The Phaedrus”) not the soap-opera scholars make of it.

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67 Comments

  1. Noochinator said,

    November 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    So I guess what you’re saying
    Means the movie version
    Won’t star Bowie and Iman—
    What a perversion!

  2. Des said,

    November 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Very interesting thesis. I will have to check to satisfy myself, but if you are right and the narrator doesn’t address any specific gender, the world of Shakespeare Studies will never be the same again thanks to you. You could win a big cash-prize if you write a book about it. You could become massively famous. More famous than Ron Silliman.

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks, Des, but:

      I think Noochinator has the better ‘get famous’ idea: Bowie & Iman!

      I think I may already be more famous than Ron Silliman…

      But turning Shakespeare Studies upside down, that would rock…

      Brady

  3. Mark said,

    November 10, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    On a first skim this seems like an interesting article but I don’t think it’s nearly as radical as you might be hoping, Tom.

    In introducing the Sonnets my undergrad Shakespeare teacher talked about the “two heaps” theory but made it clear that a lot of Shakespeare scholars don’t put too much stock in it. I was under the impression that it’s just a shorthand that’s not taken too seriously by serious scholars.

    Perhaps, once again, you’re confusing an easy generalization designed to help newbies with something that actual scholars actually believe. This could be “Modernists-Hate-Romantics-(even-though-most-of-them-don’t)-Gate” all over again! (that one probably needs a catchier title…).

    I’m not in Shakespeare Studies, so I don’t know for sure.

    Also, why is the Plato connection just tacked on at the end? Can we expect a part II to be coming down the pipe in the near future?

    Cheers,
    Mark

    • Mark said,

      November 11, 2011 at 5:00 am

      To put a finer point on my last response, one paragraph down from the quote Tom used, in Stanley Wells’ “Oxford Companion to Shakespeare”, it says:

      “To read Shakespeare’s sequence in the hopes of decoding an implied story, keen though some of these poems seem to be to encourage this strategy, is inevitably to do violence.”

      So to suggest that this reading is the “convential wisdom” seems a bit behind the times. Even the “Oxford Companion” – hardly the cutting edge of scholarship – doesn’t recommend it.

      In fact, the “Oxford Companion” associates the antiquated-seeming reading Tom is reacting to here as being most prevalent in the 19th century (“The bulk of 19th-century comment on the Sonnets… is preoccupied with their alleged biographical content at the expense of their artistry”) adding that it was “with the rise of modernism in the early 20th century” that critics started to move past this reading towards a more thorough appreciation of the Sonnets.

      Once again the Modernists save the day and repeal the “imagined soap-opera” of the 19th Century! 😛

      Tom: you’re 150 years behind instead of your usual 100 – up your game, son! I guess you didn’t finish reading the “Oxford Companion’s” entry on the Sonnets before quoting it…

      (I do like the idea of the dark lady being ink of the page, though. That has a sort of undergraduate elegance to it. Isn’t there a sonnet that ends with a line about black ink on a page being associated with love? Or am I just hallucinating that? 🙂 )

      Cheers,
      Mark

  4. thomasbrady said,

    November 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Mark,

    You haven’t cited one of these modern commentators on the Sonnets, I see.

    Why does my ‘laziness’ bother you so much? Why? Because you are just as ‘lazy’ as I am; look how anxious you are to refute me, but you can’t find one example to prove your “refutation.”

    The ‘not lazy’ don’t please you either, the tedious pedants who all got the Sonnets wrong for centuries. Then along comes Brady The Lazy, and while yawning, solves the puzzle. It must be infuriating, I know.

    Brady

  5. thomasbrady said,

    November 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Yes, Mark, I will show how “The Phaedrus” (which you haven’t studied) supplies all the material for the Sonnets. Be patient. You seem so invested, however, in your silly idea that Plato is “wrong.” LOL You may have to fall off your horse in a conversion-fit before you are ready for my instruction, I don’t know. But we’ll find amusement in the meantime, I’m sure.

    Plato and Shakespeare (as well as Shelley) persist in believing there’s a truth that lurks beyond the twin arts of rhetoric (persuasion) and poetry (amusement) and that this truth is accessible only through a (unity plus one) series of negating/expanding steps.

    Who do we follow? The lawyer or the lover? O timeless contest…

  6. Mark said,

    November 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Tom,

    I think you’re being too defensive here. I was sincere in saying that it was an interesting article… not totally convincing for me, but a good read nonetheless. I wasn’t accusing you of lazy scholarship here. Nor do I, in any significant way, attempt to “refute” you (O histrionics, thy name is Tom Graves).

    Take a breath, brother. All I said was that your thesis wasn’t as radical as you were making it out to be. Then I mentioned an anecdote from my undergrad and tried to back it up with a scholarly source after the fact.

    As I said, I’m not in Shakespeare Studies.

    I just thought it warranted pointing out, in the midst of the “Scarriet has destroyed ‘conventional wisdom'” love-in, that your own source (“the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare”) notes that this hasn’t been the “conventional wisdom” since the 19th century.

    Still, I’m confused by your lashing out in this manner. Why is it that every time someone criticizes Scarriet you have to try and turn the criticism around on them? Maybe we all want to see Scarriet get better.

    If you want to task me for not mentioning any recent scholars (and you needn’t), it should be pointed out that you mention “the scholars” 8 times throughout this essay and don’t name any of them. Which “scholars” are YOU talking about, Tom? The ones from the 19th century?

    Maybe since you’re the one writing the article you should be the one to do the research… That is until Scarriet blows up and we can afford a staff of fact checkers for you 😛

    Mark

  7. Mark said,

    November 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    w/r/t Plato, Tom, I actually wrote a paper on the Phaedrus for an undergrad philosophy class. I even managed write it without commenting on all the creepy pederasty stuff going on in it… Not an easy task…

    This of course was when I was much younger and wasn’t thinking as critically about what Plato was really saying. All you have to do is pull one thread in any of Plato’s arguments for examination and the whole sweater falls away. I wish I could get away with writing like Plato does – just put Socrates next to the one guy stupid enough to not question Socrates on the many flaws in his logic and you’re set (sounds a lot like the sort of lazy writing we often see on Scarriet, actually; maybe that’s why you resort to such melodrama when someone poses simple questions about pertinent points in your writing, Tom 😛 ). Socrates is like Moe: he’s the smartest stooge, but that’s not saying much.

    As I said earlier, your idea of the dark lady being black ink on a page is not totally convincing but let’s go with it for a second. Let’s read it in accordance with the one Sonnet you actually quote in full (#127). Just read the first line: “In the old age black was not counted fair”. If you read it with the ink in mind you can suppose that the old age is the time of Plato when black marks on a page were not “counted fair”. The rest of the sonnet, then, becomes a thorough dismantling of Platonic mimesis (which Shakespeare does over and over throughout his works). The sad bastards still weakly holding on to flawed old Plato try to slander the beauty of art but cannot themselves see truth (as all followers of Socrates inevitably render themselves unable to grasp truth). Too good! Shakespeare – the great anti-Platonist, the great destroyer of crass generalizations and foolish “reason” – comes through for us once again!

    Anyway, will your piece on Plato and the Sonnets feature actual readings of specific sonnets, Tom? Or are you just going to give us another assortment of disembodied quotes and try to cobble them into something Platonic?

    Why don’t you challenge yourself and try for the former…

    Mark

    • Mark said,

      November 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      PS – it’s funny that you say “To extrapolate a feverish autobiographical tale from The Sonnet’s metaphorically philosophical coolness is a mug’s game” but then you act the mug and play that game at the end of your post by saying “The boy is Shakespeare’s son.”

      Just made me chuckle as I read over your post and thought it ought to be pointed out…

  8. November 12, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Mark Strand?

    Mark Doty?

    Mark Jarman?

    Mark Nepo?

    Mark . . . ?

    • Mark said,

      November 12, 2011 at 1:14 am

      Mark Hamill, actually

      🙂

  9. Mark said,

    November 12, 2011 at 1:16 am

    In all seriousness though, Gary, I’m not sure why you’re so interested 🙂

    You may have noticed that Tom’s only recourse to criticism is to respond with ad hominem personal attacks on the person making the criticism. If Tom would stop being such a crum-bum I’d start posting my last name.

    All Tom knows about me is that I’m from North America, have a BA in English Lit., am a big fan of Chaucer, and have a working knowledge of literary Modernism… (My name really is Mark, if that’s any consolation).

    When I dismantled Tom’s earlier arguments about Modernism he was unable to respond to the actual points so he immediately tried to make a strawman of me, saying:

    “You really believe… that the difficult, Modernist/Post-Modernist school of Silliman/Bernstein is, by its very nature, MORE intricate, original, and profound than anything popular and accessible. This is your default reading.”

    Obviously, nothing could be further from reality. Tom attempts to delegitimize anything that shines the light of truth on him.

    For this reason, I think it’s best to take away the one weapon in Tom’s arsenal in hopes that he will actually respond to the points being made rather than attempt to make sweeping generalizations about things he has no knowledge of (I guess that could apply to a big chunk of the posts he makes here, but nevermind…).

    That said, I’m not famous (whatever “famous” means in the weird insular little world of poetry). I’m not a poet. I’m not a critic. I’m not an academic.

    Rest assured, Gary, I’m not a boring old fart like any of the Marks you mentioned (well, I guess Mark Strand is ok) – I have to assume they all have better things to do with their time 🙂

    Best,
    Mark ______ 😛

  10. November 12, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Mark, you said:

    “In all seriousness though, Gary, I’m not sure why you’re so interested.”

    Just curious, Mark. My interest was piqued when you said to Tom:

    “I’ll be happy to teach you a thing or two about poetry…”

    I find this interesting since you just said above:

    “I’m not a poet. I’m not a critic. I’m not an academic.”

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    You also said:

    “Rest assured, Gary, I’m not a boring old fart like any of the Marks you mentioned (well, I guess Mark Strand is ok).”

    Be careful, Mark. Strand is 77, Doty is 58, Jarman is 59 and Nepo is 60. I’m 59 and a half, so I guess that also makes me a “boring old fart.” 🙂

    GBF

    • Mark said,

      November 12, 2011 at 3:59 am

      Gary,

      You may be an old fart but at least you’re not boring 😛
      (sorry, couldn’t resist)

      I was just using the phrase “teach you a thing or two” in a jokey/colloquial sort of way (as in, “stick with me kid, you might learn something”). I definitely don’t *shudder* teach poetry professionally *shudder*. That wasn’t what I meant to imply.

      Cheers,
      Mark

  11. November 12, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Please keep in mind that I am not necessarily defending Tom, here. In fact, I was quite insulted when he said:

    “I agree with you on Gary’s poem-postings, Mark.”

    I suppose he was referring to your following comment:

    “… but maybe people see posting your own poems as self-promotion and maybe find something distasteful about it. The internet is full of crass commercialism and maybe that’s how your actions are being received (personally I never saw it that way, though I have, in the past, questioned the appropriateness (is topicality a word?) of some of the things you’ve posted).

    ‘To your second point, do you think there’s a bit of ‘why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free’? Do you think people see so much of your poems that they feel no need to actually buy the book? Is there such a thing as too much self-promotion?”

    Just see if Tom gets another poem out of me!

    I was just wondering what YOUR motives are in being here and criticizing Scarriet. They appear to be just and pure, yet you chastise Tom for referencing Gallaher and Faville which, you seem to think, somewhat diminishes him and Scarriet, yet here you are on this now diminished site.

    GBF

    • Mark said,

      November 12, 2011 at 5:12 am

      Gary,

      I didn’t think you were defending Tom. To that end: I’m not really attacking him, I’m just challenging some of his ideas… which apparently has him feeling a little over-sensitive. Rightly so, I guess (though his histrionics tend to slow down the process of debate).

      I understand why you might feel insulted by Tom’s comment – my spitballing suggestions weren’t really something to agree or disagree with – but you know Scarriet digs your posts and your poems… I wouldn’t feel offended if I were you. I don’t think Tom meant anything by it.

      As for my motivations they are nothing less than the search for truth and the banishment of bullshit! What could be more just and pure than that? 😛

      You’re right that I don’t think much of Gallaher and Faville, I think they just regurgitate what they hear. I guess Tom does too but I’m more sympathetic to his brand of vitriol, I guess.

      The point is this: I feel that some reaction against the academy is necessary now and I worry that taking this spark of reaction and using it for such petty little squabbles diminishes not just Scarriet but the spark itself. Following the path he’s on now, Tom becomes as easy to pigeonhole as Faville and Gallaher have themselves become… Maybe Tom is already there. I don’t know.

      In the wider picture, I think Tom’s tendency towards manifesto-ism and easy generalization is ultimately detrimental – that Scarriet has to do away with those things if it is to become a legitimate force for good.

      That’s why I’m trying to confront Tom with what I think are legitimate gripes and concerns.

      Hmmm. I don’t think I’m expressing my position very well here, Gary, but maybe I’ll get a couple pity points for effort.

      Cheers,
      Mark

  12. 01010100 said,

    November 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    ugly Tory …nothingness–even Chas Dickens would agree, Im pretty sure (as did ..Plato, however anachronistic).

    Poetry banned a good idea–would shut up Favilles and the Silliman hobo-haikoo gang as well.

  13. November 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Mark said:

    “The point is this: I feel that some reaction against the academy is necessary now and I worry that taking this spark of reaction and using it for such petty little squabbles diminishes not just Scarriet but the spark itself.”

    Mark, I live on a small farm out in the country and so am still on dial-up. As a result, I don’t have the time or wherewithal to review all the comments previously made on Scarriet. I do, however, seem to distinctly remember asking you some time back to write an essay expressing your opinions to post here on Scarriet. I’m positive that Tom would post it, whether he agreed or not.

    You are very well spoken and I’m sure we would all enjoy it. You wouldn’t even have to use your full name. 🙂

    So . . .? Why not? Please don’t tell me that you are as lazy as you claim Brady is.

    Gary

  14. thomasbrady said,

    November 13, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Mark,

    Give me an essay, serious or humorous, critical of others, or a paean to what you love, anything. I have Poe, you must have a writer, something, someone you love.

    #127 “in the old age black was not counted fair” Shakespeare refers to a pre-writing age, when there was no writing, no ‘ink,’ no ‘black’ that counted ‘fair.’ “The Phaedrus” is a severe critique of ‘writing.’ Socrates says ‘spoken arguments’ are the best, living speech is the best, and all writing is suspect, essentially all writing is dead. I’m a devotee of Plato but it even gives me pause. All of us who are writers…it’s quite an indictment…

    Of course a blog, in which comments follow a piece of writing corrects this a bit…for Socrates, all writing needs to go through the flame of criticism to be valid…rhetoric is essentially a deception…but the art of rhetoric does require some knowledge of the truth…the debate, the give-and-take is essential, otherwise all rhetoric is for political or lawyerly persuasion, and all poetry mere amusement…not truth…

    Tom

  15. November 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    The Republic has the famous passage where Socrates banishes poets from the State (at least ideal state)–ie the divine madness of the poet is at odds with ..Logos (including geometry, and what science they had at the time). The athenian philosophers blessed Apollo not Dionysius. Just think of the noise that would be prevented with like beatnik-noisemakers, shut up—..Silliman in gulag…(and in that regard Marx, and Bertrand Russell agreed, mostly with ..Plato)

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Vishnu,

      “Silliman in the gulag” (!)

      Plato is as slippery as an eel. Commentary on Plato always misses the mark. Whitman’s ‘contradictions’ have nothing on Plato, who can’t be pinned down: Plato is the Poet who hates poetry; Shakespeare, MIlton, Shelley, and Keats exist not, but for Plato. In “The Phaedrus” Socrates defends the divine madness of Eros; in that dialogue he divides Madness thusly: 1. the human madness of infirmity, which is bad, and 2. Divine madness, which is good, and which he divides into Apollo (prophetic), Dionysus (initiatory), Muses (poetic) and Aphrodite/Eros (erotic). The Phaedrus defends the madness of Love, after the argument of Lysius (and Socrates’ counter which agrees) that the non-lover is a better companion than a lover. The dialogue, following Socrates’ redemptive paean to the divine madness of love, then explores rhetoric and how writing is an inferior invention which breeds forgetfulness. The living, self-moving, soul is better than (dead) writing…I wish I knew a little bit more about Bertrand Russell and set theory…Bertie was a mentor of Eliot’s, and slept with E.’s wife! Eliot was the one modern who intimated a certain divine, as opposed to a mere earthly, madness… ‘Prufrock’ is divine…’The Four Quartets’ is rhetoric, by comparison, the flame perished in self-conscious, sentimental, symbol daubed, religious bric-a-brac, but Eliot knew something, he had self-knowledge, unlike Pound, who was just a con-man…Russell and that Oxford/Cambridge crowd had old intimations of Plato’s greatness even as they went about killing him, resurrecting Aristotle instead…Socrates, always the most dangerous, I suppose…nobody can exile you to the desert of your soul like Socrates…

      Brady

      • November 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

        Russell’s not my guru but he has a few bon mots (along with his technical philosophy)–e.g. he reminded the Lit. posse “never to mistake a Hamlet for Napoleon”. Many do mistake Hamlet (or poetic reveries, fiction of all types, movies, etc) for Napoleon, IMO. The mere literary construct, while at times profound perhaps (at least when it’s the reveries of Shakespeare or Shelley) replaces history and scientific fact. The history of WWI can hardly be summed up in a poem even when it’s TS Eliot doing the poeticizing, anymore than a beatniks’ hellish rant will do justice to WWII, Stalin or concentration camps. .

  16. Mark said,

    November 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Gary,

    I remember you saying that and I actually did take up your gauntlet and wrote a fairly decent (well, at least I thought it was) piece. I even used my real name and everything :). I started by reflecting on my time at Scarriet (I even jokingly used “Scarriet-logic” to prove that if the Modernists hate the Romantics then the Romantics hate the Romantics too!) then used that as a jumping-off point to address some of what I feel are the larger problems inherent with poetry of both the “academic” and “populist” varieties.

    The basic “thesis statement” of the piece was something like: even though Scarriet represents a reactionary point of view (with all the unsavoury elements that entails) a reaction is necessary.

    Ultimately – after much internal back and forth – I decided not to send it in. I felt like the people who could really benefit from hearing such a thing would be biased against it because of what Scarriet represents (too many lazy generalizations mixed in amongst the legitimate iconoclasm). I guess I didn’t think it would be any good to anyone if I was being tarred by Scarriet’s ideological brush from the very start. I do honestly think that if Tom stopped with the generalizations and got down to brass tacks then Scarriet could be a force for good but I feel very conflicted about associating myself in any official capacity with Scarriet until that happens. I even have some larger ideas about poetry that I’ve gone out of my way to not mention here for this very same reason.

    I guess I’m willing to relegate myself to the comments section because I’m fairly certain that no one (but for myself and the 5 or so regulars) actually reads the comments 🙂

    Despite having a bit of a bad taste in my mouth from the last debate Tom refused to have with me, I’ve checked in at Scarriet every now and again. I do enjoy Tom’s writing – when he’s on his game he can be quite good. However, I thought his remarks on Newton were especially silly and, since no one was stepping up to correct it, I jumped back in the fray. Unfortunately, a week later I’m left feeling that little has changed for the better.

    As far as laziness: I’m actually planning on leaving my beloved homeland (I’m Canadian – one more fun fact about the mysterious Mark!) to move to Korea in January and am busy as hell with paperwork, bureaucratic redtape (the Korean gov’t are a picky lot) and working extra hours to save up a little nest egg. I was, however, thinking about starting a blog when I get there… Part of my feeling is: “why try to bail out a sinking ship when it’s so easy to make a new one of my own?” I was hoping to do some short essays and criticism along with more personal stuff and (since I’ll be learning Korean) translations of traditional Korean poetry (because why the hell not?!). My leaving isn’t 100% yet so I’ll let you know how it shakes out… maybe you’ll have one more blog to post on (I promise you can make whatever radical anti-Ashbery comments you please without fear of banishment 🙂 )

    Tom,

    I find your comments about Sonnet 127 unconvincing. If “black” refers to “ink” (which, again, I’m not totally sold on) then why would Shakespeare say “counted fair”? As I said, I’m by no means a knowledgable Shakespearean (so correct me if I’m wrong) but can things be “counted” before they exist? Let’s propose the same statement in the adverse: “In the old age black was counted foul”. I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about this, man.

    Shakespeare refutes Platonic mimesis and the false idealisms of Socrates over and over, Tom.

    The irony about Plato is that he rebukes ‘writing’ for being misleading and deceptive while being far more misleading and deceptive than any poet ever could – his works are nothing but “lawerly persuasion” with very little actual substance. This is why he pits Socrates (Moe) in dialogue not against worthy opponents but against a collection of various Shemps. God bless Aristophanes! 🙂

    As to your comments about Socrates and blogging (1001hemlockcocktailrecipes.blogspot.com?):

    The Platonic impulse towards debate is one of the few points where your master and I agree. I’m actually of the opinion that the written word allows for better debates because there’s a written record of what was said. It makes it harder for the cowardly debater to wriggle free.

    For a Platonist you’re awfully hesitant to debate, Tom. When I ask you specific questions about your working methodology and you equate it to me accusing you of beating your wife then your writing isn’t really going through the “flame of criticism” in any significant way. No matter how diplomatic I attempt to be you refuse to stand behind what you’re writing. That really sucks.

    Cheers,
    Mark

    PS – yeah, I know, tldr…

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Socrates as Moe. The Slap-posium. The Repub-nyuk-nyuk-nyuk. “Beauty?? Why I oughta…”

      As for your quibble with #127 … “Counted fair” just means esteemed to be fair. You got nothing. But you like to get your shots in, anyway… Just fall down and worship me, already!

      Tom

      • November 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm

        There are ironic/comic elements but that hardly describes all the dialogues or The Republic. Socrates’ opponents are often formidable–Thrasymachus, a sophist– a proto-Nietzschean actually. AL Haig, 400 BC. Alcibiades, a spartan general,etc.Soc . himself was a veteran–real mensch (and hetero). Often they’re sort of..macho types. Some fools. Who’s his debating partner in The Republic? Glaucon. A bit of ….a wussy–sort of undergraduate– but not an idiot. See Book X for Soc./Plato’s points on the….banishment of the irrational poets–ie, beatnik-talent nite ahhtistes. Curtis Fagville, ordered out the polis–maybe he can entertain the Scythians or goths

  17. November 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Mark said:

    “(I’m Canadian – one more fun fact about the mysterious Mark!)”

    My mother was Canadian, Mark.

    Mother

    A Canadian girl, she was buried in Texas.
    Adopted, she thought maybe she was Dutch,
    but she had a Scottish name.
    Still, she looked so Irish in the casket.
    She had an Irish heart…loved poetry
    and horses and song and after all those years
    of living, it didn’t mean a thing.
    She never did get home, wherever it may have been.
    I guess if you’re just buried somewhere in the Earth
    it’s basically the same.

    Brother

    A Texas boy, but he was buried in Natchez.
    Born of our mother and father,
    Irish, sure (and maybe Dutch).
    But he looked so dead in the casket.
    I remember that time in Paris,
    you ten, I but five, you picked me up
    at school. You left me alone on the corner
    near Notre Dame because I made you
    so mad about something.

    And that time up in Finland,
    you almost twenty, I but fifteen,
    we went out to eat. I broke both
    of our special walking sticks over my knee
    because you made me
    so mad about something.

    We got those sticks above the Arctic Circle
    from that little chapel in Enontekio with
    the mural of Christ appearing in the blizzard
    like a spirit of light from the snow.
    We had agreed to bring them home,
    keep them forever to remind us.
    You were so upset that you stomped off,
    left me alone on the porch of that restaurant.
    But that was so many, many years ago.
    How could you leave me here all alone again,
    you bastard!

    Copyright 2008 – Softwood-Seventy-eight Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  18. Des said,

    November 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Gary you poetry nymphomaniac.

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

      he’s got memories. he’s in love.

      you write poetry when you can’t sleep and your belly is making sounds.

      but this is different. this is what you got to say so you don’t forget. poetry is ‘let’s remember something,’ but gary is ‘let’s remember this.’

      i can see his poor mother and feel his older brother’s rage
      in the world, in the world, where no one tells you how to age

  19. Des said,

    November 15, 2011 at 1:04 am

  20. Mark said,

    November 15, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Gary,

    From what I’ve read, I’m tempted to say that those are some of your best poems… Especially the second one (the first one ends a bit too abruptly, I think… though maybe that was the point?). Cheers.

    1000 Names…,

    I noted earlier that I was taking a pretty general view of Plato here. That said, it’s funny that you can’t see through Plato’s trickery and that you seem to take “the dialogues” to be actual dialogues. What a maroon.

    Socrates as macho, though? That’s a laugh. “Wah wah, Aristophanes is making fun of me, boo hoo”… Also he was clearly not “hetero” – maybe “bi” but definitely not “hetero” – what a strange, imaginary world you live in.

    More seriously though, your comment about “Curtis Fagville” just shows how simple-minded you are and reassures me of my decision to not bother reading your poorly-written posts here.

    If that’s your idea of wit then I think I understand why Plato is your idea of philosophy.

    … And this isn’t me being a reactionary – I’ve shelled out good money for South Park DVDs… Someoen using the word “fag” isn’t a big problem for me. To clarify:

    I’m not offended that you used the word “fag”, I’m offended at how lame your usage of it is.

    I’m not offended on behalf of gay people, I’m offended on behalf of comedy.

    That sort of shit might have cut the mustard in Grade 9 but… Wait! Are you in junior high now? That would explain so much!

    Dude, who do you have for homeroom this year?

    Tom,

    Your sense of humour goes a long way for me but what’s really funny is that your own reading of the text totally invalidates your thesis. That’s a laugh riot in my books.

    Things can’t be esteemed or counted before they exist. Perhaps you can tell me whether Shakespeare counted TV to be fair or foul… In what esteem did Chaucer hold the internal combustion engine?

    I thought you Platonists were supposed to be big on logic but here you are trying to defend a logical impossibility… weak.

    So yeah. Not a quibble: a complete dismantling… But now at least you know what you did wrong. Any reading of Shakespeare shows him to be literature’s most strident opponent to the Platonic notion of mimesis.

    You’re welcome. Better luck next time.

    Best to all,
    Mark

    • November 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

      No, you competely misread the Socratic dialogues Mark dewd. They are not comic–indeed Soc. opposes the playwrights and poets, winebibbers, and theatre fags of his day ( in the Republic..and other writings). In a sense like an ancient law school–what is justice, etc. touching on..metaphysical issues (ie, the Forms). But not merely rhetoric (ie, the sophist’s speciality). Plato may be ancient and strange, but hardly a farce or slapstick (and I did not claim to be a “platonist” or a classicist–nor sonneteer, grazi a Osiris). And Soc. was a veteran–an “epistates”–sort of a Lieutenant–and married, and gave issue as they say. Ergo, het. Your typical superficial literary reading means little or nothing.

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Mock,

      Shakespeare is being a little too subtle for you. If I wrote, “In Shakespeare’s age, TV was not counted fair,” that would be absurd. Shakespeare, however, writes, “In the old age black was not counted fair.” Black DID exist in the ‘old age,’ but writing did not, but because writing DOES exist in Shakespeare’s day, and ‘fair poems’ exist, black IS now ‘counted fair.’ It’s a little joke. which pedants busily looking for a ‘brunette woman’ are going to miss. But now that I’ve explained it to you, in my article, you have no excuse. Are you dense, or, per usual, just picking a fight with Brady? Sadly, in either case, everyone loses.

      This is wny some say art and culture can’t be democratic; there’s too many people like you, Mock, who need everything spelled out, and that gets boring. But I have all faith in democracy, and I’m sure that one day you’ll appreciate Shakespeare and Plato.

      I think you may be one of those modernist dabblers who resent the ancient rigor.

      I hope that’s not the case!

      Tom

  21. Mark said,

    November 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Tom,

    You’re trying to wriggle out of the trap you’ve made for yourself and you’re failing.

    I think I’m the one holding to the “ancient rigor” by invoking Ockham’s Razor while your explanations just get sillier and more convoluted.

    I think that your last post must be your 2/5ths internet troll just having a laugh… there’s no way anyone would actually believe such poorly-thought-out garbage.

    The poet seeks truth in the act of writing. It’s why Keats’ poetry moves from a stale sort of Neoplatonism, to a kind of phenomenology to a an almost proto-symbolist sensibility which wholly rejects the false idealisms of Plato (this is what got him kicked out of the Romantics clique).

    That Chaucer sought truth on the page is also why no one – in 600 years of study – has been able to pin him down. This is what the best poets always and invariably do.

    You, Tom, are unable to discern poetics from polemics. This is why your own poetry is such irredeemable garbage. You’re not a poet but, ultimately, because you’re too cowardly to answer for what you’ve written, you’re not much of a polemicist either (you tend too much towards effeminate histrionics… which might be a turn-on to Socrates but is pretty lame by my standards).

    Sadly, I think I’m going to duck out from Scarriet for a bit. You’re literally telling yourself that you’re revolutionizing Shakespeare studies when your own source texts say that you’re 150 years behind the mainstream. No wonder you’re scared to debate.

    Maybe I’m wrong about that though. If you have the juevos to do a serious debate – either live or over the comments page here – shoot me an e-mail at sunken_city@hotmail.com… We can even get the Scarriet gang to moderate (not 1000 Names of Vishnu, though. That guy can’t even formulate a simple sentence and I think he might be 14 years old).

    I sincerely doubt I’ll be hearing from you.

    Mark

    • November 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Here’s a sentence Markberg–

      You don’t have a clue about philosophy, whatsoever (whether platonic, or contra-platonic)–maybe start with a syllogism. And for that matter your approach to literature..Keats!–is chi chi BS, like all of your writing.

      We don’t have to write like John Sheats in comboxes, Marky Daffodil.

  22. Tom said,

    November 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Nice beating you in the debate, Mock. A pity you’re so angry and bitter about me whupping you intellectually. The neo-platonic tendencies you allude to in your reading of the sonnets, are merely Homeric nicities dressed in the heraclitean habit an unholy hermetically sealed spinner of online spam spouts for their kicks.

    I think you confuse a Confucian for a Platonic poetic in Keats’s poetry, as the handful of his classic sonnets, if you actually close-read them rather than take your opinion second-hand, I think you’ll find they clearly demonstrate more of the East than West poetical bent. The inner-workings and signified signposts that lead the mind along to enlightenment with Keats’s sonnets, exemplify the rational of the long-distance Taoist philiosophy, more than the near-sprint materialism of the Grecian trinity with whom you so closely define yourself as a defeated contestant in this months poetry debating competition, that I won, hands down, because your prose is garbage masquarading as the fruits of a close-read reality.

    Bye bye. Don’t feel too bad. If you want me to humiliate you some more, I would advise against coming here again.

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      Do I sound like that? No…that’s not me at all. I strive for simplicity.

  23. Mark said,

    November 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    1000 Faces,

    That’s not “a sentence”… it’s three sentences. Also one of your three sentences has two random periods in the middle of it. Plus one of your sentences starts with “And” (which you probably shouldn’t do until you have a better grasp on how sentence construction works).

    So… um… yeah…

    Nice try, though. Leave the philosophy to those of us who can count.

    Now to “Tom”,

    I said I wasn’t going to post anymore but I have to ask:

    That’s not actually Tom, is it? That’s got to be a parody of Tom, right? Granted Tom himself is sort of a parody of Tom at this point but that has to be Des “doing” Tom, right?

    It’s amazingly well-done. Fucking laugh riot!

    Tom,

    You should retire and let this impersonator do a Gallagher II sort of thing with Scarriet – no one would be able to tell the difference!… and it would be way funnier.

    Either way, I’m not mad and I still love this place. Viva Scarriet!

    “If you want me to humiliate you some more, I would advise against coming here again.” LOL

    Best,
    Mark

    • November 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      The dyslexic Jerry Seinfeld routine is not wit, nor funny in the least, Markski, es tut mir leid. I doubt youve read a paragraph of Plato–
      Maybe you can find ebonics versions of a few dialogues, or like cliffsnotes for canadian yokels.
      .

  24. thomasbrady said,

    November 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Mawk,

    I like 1000 names, but you are becoming tiring, I’m afraid.

    Good luck with your move to Korea. if you go that route.

    Tom

  25. November 17, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Mark:

    Elsewhere you said:

    “Here’s a serious question: why bother with John Gallaher (or, having read back in the archives a bit, Curtis Faville)? They’re just regurgitating the nonsense they hear from other people and generalizing it in a way that makes it seem even sillier. Why aim at such easy targets when there are other perfectly good targets out there? Why set your sites so low?”

    Could you recommend some worthy sites?

    Gary

  26. November 17, 2011 at 12:50 am

    I’m not exactly sure if I understand exactly what I’m reading here, but if I’m correct then there has been a little confusion. Comparing Confucius (Conficianism) to Lao-tzu (Taoism) is like comparing Hitler to Gandhi. They were polar opposites. One was for government control and intervention and the other for independence, freedom and the natural order.

    Please don’t make this mistake again.

  27. November 17, 2011 at 2:21 am

    I apologize for mistyping ‘Confucianism’ above, but I get very frustrated. Most people do not understand the difference between Confucius and Lao tzu. Lao tzu and Confucius were contemporaries. Lao tzu’s little book, the Tao Te Ching ,was written as advice to the emperor in order to specifically refute the advice of Confucius. Confucius supported the continuation of established ritual and governmental authority, Lao tzu the wisdom of living a natural life in harmony with the natural ways of Nature. From Wikipedia:

    The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism (法家) or Taoism (道家) during the Han Dynasty[3][4][5] (206 BC – AD 220).

    Also frequently confused with Taoism is Zen Buddhism. They are as different from each other as are Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

    Gary

  28. Mark said,

    November 17, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Gary,

    What you were reading there was Des pulling a Rich Little and doing an amazing impression of Tom. The joke is that Tom always gets all his facts wrong so I’m sure Des is aware of the differences between Lao-Tzu and Confucius (and it’s no wonder Ezra Pound was so into Confucius… the prick).

    As for poetry blogs: it would take a long time for me to get into why I think “poetry blogs” have ultimately failed (lack of tech-savvy among their progenitors, hesitance on the part of readers to fully embrace a non-physical medium, entrenchment of antiquated views (populist v. experimental… when both are usually shit), the inevitable lack of breadth one gets on a blog not being made up for with an abundance of depth, the more personal nature of a blog (and the give and take you get in comments) creating a tendency for more gossip and less fact, etc).

    As such, the list of poetry blogs in my favourites bar is probably not that different from yours. I keep up with Silliman et al but find I get a lot more mileage out of blogs that just post poems and maybe add a couple pictures. Tom Clark’s blog is usually good for this sort of thing (even though I think Tom Clark isn’t much of a poet and is a second-rate biographer… tends too much towards sensationalism and not enough towards the work… just like Scarriet does!).

    I don’t think – and I’m speaking more generally than poetry blogs here – the blog has really found a way to replace the periodical (or even the online magazine, for that matter).

    Like I said, this is hard for me to articulate. When I say Tom should stop taking on mental midgets and has-beens I guess the challenge I’m not really suggesting he go outside the “blogosphere” (there’s a word I hate!).

    An online periodical like “Jacket”, maybe… They caused a minor stir with Kenneth Goldsmith’s article on plagiarism recently – I actually came to Scarriet hoping to find a response from Tom about it. Even a 10 year old could have torn it apart and I think Tom’s no-doubt scathing review would have been really entertaining.

    Moving off the internet entirely I was specifically thinking that Tom could take a book of essays by a modern poet/critic out of the library – not some fossil like Bloom who people just humour because they know he’s going to drop any minute – and actually respond to one of them.

    I was thinking this because I remembered when Tom wrote a post about the title of Charles Bernstein’s last collection of essays (Attack of the Difficult Poems) without having read any of the actual essays. “Dude, SERIOUSLY?!?! You’re attacking the title of a book because you’re too lazy to read it???” Tom actually ended up sounding foolish because the title is very tongue-in-cheek and he didn’t seem to realize that.

    So, yeah, I guess my challenge to Tom is that he actually make some attempt to be informed about what he’s talking about before he makes posts… To stop relying on fourth-hand sources like Gallaher and Faville when he could just as easily take the time he spends reading their blog and read an essay by one of the people they’re ripping off… Then he could post here on Scarriet without sounding so silly all the time.

    I know you yourself have chastised Tom for commenting on things he hasn’t read, Gary, so perhaps you see where I’m coming from here.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough and spent most of the time taking shots at Tom (which is sort of uncool of me) and not really answering your question in the least so…

    You’re welcome?

    😛

    Cheers,
    Mark

    • Mark said,

      November 17, 2011 at 3:05 am

      Just reading over my post… Somehow some extra words got into this sentence (I’m pretty sure Tom is to blame):

      “When I say Tom should stop taking on mental midgets and has-beens I guess the challenge I’m not really suggesting he go outside the “blogosphere” (there’s a word I hate!).”

      I AM suggesting Tom go outside the “blogosphere” is what I meant to say…

    • November 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Wow–one sentence dismissal of Pound from Markski, aka the Moe Howard of Scr.. The hobos at the Silliman-Clarkberg joints do better than that, dreck

  29. Mark said,

    November 17, 2011 at 3:59 am

    “Tom”/Des,

    You’ve nailed the Graves impression you seriously had me convinced for a minute – the only things you have to watch for:

    1. Gravesy would never talk about “close-reading” (he doesn’t even read the works he comments on… So he’s not in much of a position to say anything like that).

    2. He would never use the word “poetic” in that sense… I’m not even sure he knows what it means (that’s when I realized something was up 🙂 ).

    3. Tom wouldn’t make reference to Eastern philosophy of any sort – he maintains a very studious ignorance on such things. It’s almost impressive, the degree to which Gravesy cloisters himself from fact, truth and ideas.

    But yeah, amazingly good job, man. The funniest thing that’s ever been posted on Scarriet by a WIDE margin. You even fooled Gary (I think :P)

    Mark

  30. Mark said,

    November 17, 2011 at 4:07 am

    Tom,

    I’m not surprised you like 1000 Names – I actually thought he was an alter for you and you were trying to write like a 10 year old to throw people off your trail (I no longer think that, it turns out 1000 Names ACTUALLY DOES write like that. Yikes.)

    Anyway you think you go for simplicity? I think you should really read your own posts – in this thread or any other. You have a tendency to get convoluted and try to muddy the waters when you should really just admit that you’re wrong and move on.

    Maybe it’s one of those things that everyone can see except you… Des’ impression is shockingly accurate.

    Please please please get Des to do an update as “Tom”. It would be amazing. I would PAY HIM to do it!

    That said, why is it that you bring out the good stuff the day I say I’m leaving??? Your piece today on Poe and female writers is really good (sort of goes off the rails a bit in the middle but you pull it together by the end). I really enjoyed it.

    I think when you say: “imagine a 19th century salon, where poems live in a rich, down-to-earth, social atmosphere: one part gossip, one part entertainment, one part noble tradition.” That this is how you imagine Scarriet. Right?

    I would love that! The only beef I’ve ever had with Scarriet is when the “one part gossip” becomes three parts gossip and the “noble tradition” of logic and truth gets jettisoned (I should say that this is “IMO” or something but I think even you would admit that this is the case sometimes).

    I feel that when I’ve tried to address this to you directly you’ve sort of shut down, which sucks. You have to remind yourself of why you’re doing this: if you can turn out articles that good then there’s no reason to settle for less.

    I probably am going to stop posting – it’s taking up a lot of time and, frustratingly, I don’t think I’ve found a way to get you to actually listen to what I’m saying – but I’ll keep checking in every now and again. Up your standards, Tom. Viva Scarriet.

    Good luck to you too, sir

    Best,
    Mark

  31. thomasbrady said,

    November 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Mark,

    You will-o-the-wisp, you are back in my good graces. Sometimes I think you’re chucking mudballs, but now I’m convinced you are sincere, and you just want Scarriet to be better. I believe you.

    Yes, you’re right. I need to read more and choose better topics. I’ll try to improve. I do welcome suggestions. I’ll write about anything in which I can torture and bash someone! So send ideas my way! You can even write a Scarriet article if you want! Don’t I get a break? Sheesh!

    I wish I knew more about the East.. Gary’s lesson on Tao v. Confusion was great, and by the way, don’t worry so much about typos, guys. I’m sure your posts are read quickly, and we don’t worry excessively about this stuff, here. No ‘gotcha’ allowed on Scarriet. (I do try and keep the articles clean, but I fail woefully…)

    Tom

  32. Mark said,

    November 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

    1000 Names,

    I have 3 words for you:

    Once again you come off like an uninformed, nit-picking reactionary; once again you’ve completely missed the point. You’re a joke, son.

    I actually like Pound and have defended him here in the past. I think he was probably a prick in real life but a lot of artists are. I also think Silliman and Clark (who are pretty dissimilar) would probably die 1000 deaths before calling Pound a “prick”, so I guess that completely obliterates whatever nonexistant point you were trying to make, Nancy.

    None of what I said amounts to a “one sentence dismissal of Pound” (LOL, what a melodramatic reading! I’m sorry you’re such a delicate flower, 1000 Labias… maybe a knitting circle would be more your speed).

    Wait, was that more than 3 words? I know you can’t count very well but I think it might have been…

    Hugs and Kisses,
    Mark

    PS – who DO you have for homeroom this year?

    • November 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Yr just another half-wit Seinfeld, Marky Daffodil, and like fatman Silliman and his bums, Clark the bogus beatnik, et al yr in the wrong business, polluting the world with your verbal excretions and ugly peasant yaps. You don’t know f*ck about Pound, or philosophy or even coherent writing. Maybe ..exit stage left like a good canadian joto.

      You wanna f*ck with me in person? Ellay style, 405/Roscoe, or post an addy (a bit of a challenge). Yd be down much quicker than EP was with Pops Hemingway.

  33. Mark said,

    November 18, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Tom,

    Never did I think I’d get a “you’re right” from thomasbrady. You can’t take it back now! We’ve all seen it!

    I’m going to stop posting and savour this for a while but I’m going to continue reading Scarriet while I do so.

    My only suggestion, for now, remains: GET DES TO DO AN ARTICLE AS “TOM”!… but I understand if you’re not ‘down’ with that.

    Keep fighting the good fight, brother.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  34. Manc Poet said,

    November 18, 2011 at 1:45 am

  35. November 19, 2011 at 1:28 am

    1000 Names of Vishnu (‘J’) said:

    “You wanna f*ck with me in person? Ellay style, 405/Roscoe, or post an addy (a bit of a challenge). Yd be down much quicker than EP was with Pops Hemingway.”

    You meant Wallace Stevens, didn’t you?

    The American poet Ezra Pound, older than Hemingway by 14 years, met Hemingway by chance at Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company in 1922. The two toured Italy in 1923 and lived on the same street in 1924.[34] They forged a strong friendship and in Hemingway, Pound recognized and fostered a young talent Pound—who had recently finished editing T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land—introduced Hemingway to the Irish writer James Joyce, with whom Hemingway frequently embarked on “alcoholic sprees”.

    In February 1935, Stevens encountered the poet Robert Frost at the Casa Marina. The two men argued, and Frost reported that Stevens had been drunk and acted inappropriately. The following year, Stevens allegedly assaulted Ernest Hemingway at a party at the Waddell Avenue home of a mutual acquaintance in Key West. Stevens broke his hand, apparently from hitting Hemingway’s jaw, and was repeatedly knocked to the street by Hemingway.

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      It was Gertrude Stein, in Paris, not Pound, who guided Hemingway’s writing. Hemingway was ashamed of his writing and Stein had Hemingway throw out his first draft of his first novel, and start all over. Of course, in retrospect, we know now that both Hemingway and Stein’s writing was the merest trash. Pound gained some notoriety for editing ‘The Waste Land,’ yet Eliot’s poor wife, who made suggestions, also, gets no credit.

  36. Mark said,

    November 19, 2011 at 8:42 am

    1000 Names,

    Hahahaha, you’re too scared to say “fuck” and you still think you have the balls to fuck with me? LOL… Sit down Nancy. You’re even more of a joke now than you were before.

    You put on a good show when everyone’s watching but that’s all it is – you’re all show and no go. You straight-up don’t have the balls.

    You have my e-mail address, if you want to fight then come up to Vancouver – you name the time, I’ll name the place. I will happily put you on the ground, Sally.

    Now, if you ACTUALLY wanted to fight you would have just contacted me instead of making such a big effeminate spectacle of yourself. Shoot me a line if you want to fight, somehow I think I won’t be hearing from you… LOL

    Basically I’m saying that you’re a melodramatic little twink… You don’t want to fight, you just want to make a big production. Fucking drama queen. Don’t you have a knitting bee you need to go to, 1000 Vulvas?

    Hugs and Kisses,
    Mark

    PS – Gary, Ez and Hemingway were pals but there’s a story where Hemingway was teaching Pound how to box and Pound couldn’t get the hang of it. I suspect that’s what this goon is talking about – kudos to you for navigating through 1000 Names’ grade-school prose, though. That ain’t easy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/07/04/specials/hemingway-topics.html

    • November 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Yll find out, you little canadian faggot, pronto.

      Yd do welll to kick this piece of chandala out of here, chandala

      • Mark said,

        November 20, 2011 at 12:09 am

        Pronto?

        I just checked my e-mail and I don’t see anything… Guess I was right about you being all talk. Guess I just proved my point, 1000 X-Chromosones.

        Hugs and Kisses,
        Mark

        • Noochness said,

          November 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm

          I have recently thought
          That one chromosomed XY,
          Should he become too macho,
          Would end up a YY!

          Just an observation,
          As it were, under the wire—
          I hope it amuses,
          And doesn’t draw fire!

  37. November 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Tom said:

    “Of course, in retrospect, we know now that both Hemingway and Stein’s writing was the merest trash.”

    Har! Surely you jest. I mean no offense, but do you think YOUR writing will be around in fifty years?

    Gary

    • thomasbrady said,

      November 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Gary,

      I guess it depends on what you mean by “around.”

      Tom

  38. November 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    er…remembered? You and me both.

  39. Mark said,

    November 20, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Tom said: “in retrospect, we know now that both Hemingway and Stein’s writing was the merest trash.”

    I was going to make a very similar comment about Hemingway in my last post but decided against it…

    Jeez, Tom writes two good articles (in a row, no less) AND we agree on an author?

    This is getting eerie…. 🙂

  40. David said,

    December 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Tom,

    I’m struggling with the “procreation sonnets”. The idea that we can obtain immortality through our progeny has always struck me as foolish and vain. My wife bore our children so that we could raise souls up to God. Cheating the reaper by perpetuating my bloodline was the farthest thing from my mind. Did Shakespeare really believe such foolishness?

  41. thomasbrady said,

    December 20, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    David,

    What is “foolish” in the individual can be wise in the mass: it may be silly, as you say, to ‘cheat the reaper by perpetuating your bloodline,’ as an individual person, but it is a necessity for the human race, as well as a happy reminder to those beautiful creatures often too lazy and self-centered to replicate. Shakespeare was playing off the love sonnet tradition and its “use;’ it was a practical retort to the Petrarchan line of human romance equals devotion to God: human romance in Shakespare’s Sonnets becomes a tool of breeding. Think of Shakespeare as one part Petrarch, two parts English practicality, one part Plato. Poems for Shakespeare and his sonnet tradition were commands: Love me, You are hurting me with your indifferance, Have children, —important things had to be said. Today, these tropes seem foolish, because we wouldn’t try to tell a real person what to do in a poem. We merely observe. We aim lower.

    Tom

  42. David said,

    December 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Yes, that makes sense. It occurs to me that Shakespeare, in arguing for the procreative end of conjugal use, is also a good part Catholic.


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