Dear British Poets,
thanks for steers on Ian Hamilton Finlay about two weeks ago now... also
to Ric Caddel's comments about me acting as gardener etc. etc... but
actually Martin Gardiner is the cat who wrote The Ambidextrous Universe,
spoonfeeding theoretical physics to a pre-Hawking audience. Not me.
Who else agrees with this: if you leave it alone for a few minutes, this
group splits up again into 'poetry is poetry' creative writing 101 on the
one hand, which no-one, be honest, really wants to read in this context,
and po-faced anglo langpo on the other. Suggest a piece of backup software
which blocks all messages containing the word 'prynne', which would cut
down browsing time.
I got a very useful response to my call for connections to Ian Hamilton
Finlay, but I suppose you have to push it if you want anything outside a
small group to be incorporated. The argument I'm making, in the context of
a larger project which is mostly about postcolonial theory (not about
poetry, Robin, despite my email address), boiled down very quickly and
inaccurately to about fifteen lines, is this:
Enlightenment nation-state building demanded identification with an image
of the nation as Volk and corresponding misrecognition of the colonized;
this returned in modernity - modernism and psychoanalysis - as a dual
identity anxiously hidden in the first-phase Anglo-American modernists
canonized by New Criticism - Eliot, Pound. Readings of this mutual
identity ended in postcolonial theory, the final destination of
deconstruction and the bulk of the cultural theory which is currently
'threatening' English Studies. Scottish English departments largely reject
this cultural theory despite its offering a much more mobile idea of
national identity with which to go into a post-devolutionary phase.
Scottish late modernists ('2nd and 3rd phase', in American terms) had to
deal with MacDiarmid's important but inept ideas of a national 'language',
but ultimately came up with models of the national image and the national
dialect which in many ways precede the insights of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry.
Finlay for example got out of concrete around 1966, expimented with
ultra-formal, procedural text/ images works, and we entered what
langpo critics would later claim as an American phase of postmodernism.
Arguments about this? Anyone out there into IHF or other Scots refusing to
behave as Caledonian Heaneys? By the way Ric do you know the genealogy of
the phrase 'North British'...
Theory/ poetry, and US/ UK connections are always useful.