JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

PAP

From:

George Sutherland <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

George Sutherland <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 22 Jul 1998 14:48:23 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (83 lines)




Here's a one-two from the subpo list, a continuation of this discussion
along a slightly different line.  Sherry's post (the first post here) was
in response to my initial 'metaphysics' bit.



yes, I like this, what you said.  I would add something.  to say that
language is already in and of itself a social act and so any language has
social effects or carries social weight (these are not the same things).
so that I think the poet and the reader can each be more or less conscious
of the way the poem works as a social document, or as materially social.
and that is the way in which a poem might be political in the writing, for
me, anyway.  but for me, too, language (like shape and color in visual art)
can be more or less abstracted from its social uses (altho not entirely).
and that too has social weight or effects.  sometimes abstracting something
for aesthetic effects seems to heighten memory of its social places, too.
Jackson MacLow for me would be the best example of this, esp. his In
Memoriam Kurt Schwitters, which is so very conscious of both of these
things, the aesthetic abstractions and nevertheless the inescapable social
materialities of the poem and its language.  or another example, Milton's
sonnet on the dead um I forget the title protestants in some little
mountain town in europe, waldensians?

(Sherry Brennan, in response to 'politicopoeticoco', 16/7/98)


Sherry - thanks for your response - I take the point that a poet or visual
artist for example can attempt to momentarily de-codify words or uses of
colour in order to give the impression that they operate at an abstracted
remove from the social situations from which they originate.  But as you
say, this 'heightens memory of its social places' and would seem
principally or at least most gravely to be a kind of heuristic bluff, or,
basically a kind of 'socratics' - What do you make of this, then (I try to
make of it what it came from, as you might have but were unable to have
asked of me directly).  Not being able to ask directly is a different
thing, I'll wager, from not asking; this distinction seems to me to have
been made quite smeary and unattractive by much structuralist-influenced
theoretical poetics, which would sometimes have people believe that there
is no-one to ask them anything and so they must invent something to ask
themselves in some secluded and mystical way.  I agree that language is
fundamentally social and that its political efficacy consists in improving
or altering the extent to which people are or become conscious of their
surroundings; what I ask is this: is the way in which language (by which I
do -not- mean any ad absurdum universe of unavoidable signs, but words and
grammar) effects this change, radically different from the way in which
other sign-bearing material events effect the same kind of change?  If it
is (I suspect it must be), is this because our capacity to formulate social
valuations is one which inheres in language rather than in other human
abilities (despite Nietzsche's preference for the fist or boot)?  If this
is so, isn't it really this latter capacity, the capacity to -evaluate-
(even accidentally), that, more than being intrinsically social in the way
that everything in human life is, actually elevates our use of language to
a progressive politics?  Which would mean that language, although of course
in its nature a social phenomenon, is not always importantly so; or rather,
it is occasionally of highly inflated political importance and normally of
a necessarily low political importance.  Personally I think this idea is
elemental to any individual responsibility with words, and always has been,
but that recent insistence on the pervasive political aspect of language
has contrived to repress the probability of its actual political function
through a rather self-serving trust in a vague resemblance of 'pervasion'
to 'egalitarianism.'  And hence, in my rather undeservedly robust opinion,
we get vast tracts of supremely confident and superficially totalizing
verbiage from Ron Silliman.  In which the capacity to formulate valuations
based on a distinction between important and relatively unimportant
political language seems to have been programmatically jettisoned in favour
of a fairly toyish liberty.  Whippin' and snappin', k


(btb, the Milton piece is 'On the late Massacre in Piedmont', and seems
almost certainly to have been written at Cromwell's suggestion, following
the latter's international protest against the treatment of the Vaudois by
the Duke of Savoy in April 1655.  I just read up on this, following your
suggestion Sherry - thanks, it's an interesting piece)           
  




%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager