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  #21  
Old 10-12-2017, 03:27 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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If you go back even further, there's Erosion, which has some good stuff.
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  #22  
Old 10-12-2017, 04:54 PM
Mark Blaeuer Mark Blaeuer is offline
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A couple years back, I finished reading The Errancy. I don't recall when I started, but the book has a 1997 copyright. I probably bought it when it was relatively new, then didn't attempt it for awhile. Anyway, I thought the poems were interesting, and for whatever reason I enjoyed the more expansive lines, compared to some of what I'd read by her before. As of '97 she was already doing the semi-collage thing, but she was nice enough to include end-notes covering her sources. (Looking at one of my penciled jottings in the volume, I see that at the time I was convinced she'd borrowed something from E.A. Robinson and forgotten to acknowledge it. But I never could find it again, so finally decided I was mistaken.)
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  #23  
Old 10-12-2017, 06:13 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I reviewed Materialism many years ago. It is, I recall, about the time that she moved into her present manner, which involves combining small personal incidents with global themes. This is probably behind the Jstor firewall:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/3852075...n_tab_contents

I say "present manner" in reference to this poem. She has employed a variety of techniques with spacing and punctuation over the years. In this case it's primarily in the use of em-dashes.
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  #24  
Old 10-13-2017, 04:18 AM
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Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
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What Bob said in his post #19.
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  #25  
Old 10-13-2017, 07:58 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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I like the poem.

I wouldn’t want poems like this to comprise my entire literary diet, but I found the exercise of trying to follow the associations, to imbue them with meaning, interesting and fun. If it’s really a kind of Rorschach test, fine – but then I think it’s really well done, and it outed me as the anti-oligarch, PoMo obsessed, crockpot (crackpot? crackpoet?) of foundational questions that I am. And I have to admire that.

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 10-13-2017 at 03:22 PM.
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  #26  
Old 10-13-2017, 01:20 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Michael Ferris, I respect your opinion, but it's only an opinion. Would you care to open up a little on why you really like the poem? There's no accounting for tastes, but I do like to hear rationales. I have long suspected her of having a form of ADHD or simply too much multi-tasking. I've never met her, though I have heard that she is a good workshop teacher.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 10-13-2017 at 01:24 PM.
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  #27  
Old 10-13-2017, 03:04 PM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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Hi Sam Ė

Agreed, there is no accounting for taste. I have read pieces by JG before that I could not make head nor tail of Ö but this one grabbed me. I donít claim to understand all of it, but much of it made sense to me. Iím glad for that, as I often feel, like Andrew S, that the failure is mine when I can't appreciate an established poet (as is the case with Ashbery, sadly). As briefly as I can:

I thought at the opening that JG was referring to the financial crisis and the bailout of the big banks. That action bothered me greatly at the time, and I think (as I have said here before) that we are still living through social and political consequences of those moves. (More broadly, I think it's a proxy for injustice.) I read part of what follows as the poetís argument with herself (the trope of the bird, the moral conscience, justice) over the feeling of indignation, and seeking justification for it Ė a moral foundation, as it were, a sure path to just change. I also have the feeling that we could use a critique of our values. He who has the gold should not necessarily rule. Perhaps it was ever thus; perhaps Iím just not old enough yet to have perspective.

Anyway, the attempt to find justification, the sure path, does not succeed and the poet simply has her feelings. I read her at the end as trying to convince herself to be content with those, to find the transcendence that some believe is possible, perhaps through art (e.g., Glass), but to me it seems the poet does not fully convince herself. The back and forth, the changes mind, the nagging indignation, the final seeming despair over argumentation as a sure means of change: I find it very postmodern: there are no Ďskyhooksí, to quote Rorty, one of my favorite PoMo philosophers. There is only the way we live.

Thatís my reading in broad strokes. I admit I may be doing more eisegesis than exegesis; I admit I may be using this poem as a prism or a mirror for my own thoughts. But if that is indeed JGís project, i.e., itís a Rorschach test, then it succeeded with me -- in this case. I enjoyed the hunt, and I (mostly) liked what I found. It made me reflect and remember, and it touched something within.

Thatís my humble two cents. I hope itís tangent to something approximating clarity.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 10-13-2017 at 03:21 PM. Reason: sloppies
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  #28  
Old 10-13-2017, 09:18 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Thanks, Michael. I guess I'm hooked on suspecting the Pathetic Fallacy for life. Surely we continue to project our own emotions onto Nature, but should we also inflict upon god's creatures an economic treatise? I could make a connection, say, between birds killed in a wind farm (a regular occurrence) or creatures affected by an oil spill, but this just seems to be something the cat dragged in. I think it basically is that saying our lives are a loan from whomever, some of them long-term, others short-term, but that's hardly a fresh idea.
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  #29  
Old 10-14-2017, 03:17 AM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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Thanks for your response, Sam. I do feel like I’m getting a ‘hook’ into JG, thanks in no small part to you and Rogerbob. This has been interesting.

I can only say wrt the trope of the bird that it suggested itself to me; and I was set down the path of economics, values and injustice by the opening indignation and reference to the financial crisis and money, as I read it. My imagination did the rest…

More broadly, it strikes me that, like some Ab Ex painters, what JG is doing is moving the fulcrum of the lever or balance between text and public much closer to the public; as mentioned above, the reader must do the ‘heavy lifting’ and supply much of the meaning. This implies greater activity, more imagination on the part of the reader. Such an approach often works for me in Ab Ex painting; why can’t poetry do the same thing? This also seems to me very PoMo, very modern Lit Crit: there is little or no ‘fixed meaning’ to the text, there is only our interpretation of the text. At the limit, I think this breaks down into absurdity – but the fulcrum can be moved a great distance before that happens. It’s a creative approach, I think. When well done, it's engaging and fun. This one certainly gave me a window into my preoccupations. Good discussion.

M

Last edited by Michael Ferris; 10-14-2017 at 07:28 AM. Reason: awake now
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  #30  
Old 10-14-2017, 09:19 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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The human mind is naturally animist. The opposite of the "pathetic fallacy" is the hubristic insipidity.
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