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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Re: Disappointment et al (fwd)

From:

Keston Sutherland <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Keston Sutherland <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 9 Feb 1998 16:49:14 -0500 (EST)

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (90 lines)



Forgive me if you get this twice (as if once weren't enough), but
according to my inbox it never reached the list. x


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 12:27:34 -0500 (EST)
From: Keston Sutherland <[log in to unmask]>
To: Peter Larkin <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Disappointment et al




>Most of the thought (which i haven't yet absorbed) seems to centre on
>aesthetic disappointment, whereas for me it was the captured field of
>compunction as disappointment which set things going. What are the ethics
>of disappointment etc?


The phrase "captured field of compunction..." strikes me as immediately
apt, situating "compunction as disappointment" as the result of an act
or instance of separation (of capturing, rendering answerable). What
event, or kind of event, has this result? As I see it, the ethical
prerogative issues (or, to backpeddle to a totally prior ethic, -should
be made- to issue) in a compelled answer to the aesthetic prerogative: if
a prepared disappointment ("a totally prior ethic") becomes, due to a
poem's basic failure to need care, -actual- disappointment, a reader is
able rapidly to make a compunctious answer to him/herself. That is, to
criticize his or her own aesthetic prerogative ("why did I read this",
leading poltically to "why should -this- be read?"): I am sorry that this
is read, I acknowledge the extent of my complicity in the fact of that
privilege, I will not do to -what is needful- the disservice of lingering
in a 'sudden' or 'natural' disappointment which by its very nature
instigates neglect. The more I pestle this whey of words, the more
Christian it smells. That's fine, as far as I see it.

         
>I'm still waiting for the cris cheek version - that, I'd guess, would put
>the energy and range back into it which I find so sadly lacking, or which
>I just don't get, in the first bit. I tried, as always, but I just don't
>get it.

>RC

Ric's comment, ending in "I just don't get it." is readily accepted as a
show of modesty; his earlier remarks indicate fairly conclusively that he
-does- get it, and that it is by no means worth the getting. Partly this
is an unwillingness to shout what might be heard just as well said calmly.
What is disappointment here? According to my Slash/Burn 'preparedness'
urgings, the prior-ethic -> aesthetic prerogative -> compunctious answer
shindig, the prophesied (prepared has had its day, for a while)
disappointment Messiah would leap from the mouth (and not merely from the
mind) of the Ur-Ric here, and declare barrel-chestedly: I get it, I get it
like a virus against which I was prepared and which serves rather to
innoculate than to dismay me, I reclaim my initial willingness to read the
piece as an -error-, such reclamation being the rapid insight of a
compunctious answer (the instant conversion of the aesthetic prerogative
into an ethical one). The issuing reappointment is different: for, "as
always, I just don't get it", UR has "never again will I get it, and if I
do, may I be hurled into HELL's dullest hinterland pronto, with only a
sweat-powered Nintendo playing Ted Hughes Donkey Kong 2000 for a
brisk eternity". But, to be less serious for a moment, you do say, Ric,
"sadly": "I find so sadly lacking". This has an echo: "I am sad to find
lacking". Despite probably having become near-impervious to
disappointments in modern poetry, there -is- an available sadness when
reminded of how impervious one needs to be; but the wrong word is
"available" - this is the opposite of avail, it is a genuine pain,
particularly for people such as the majority of those on this list who are
committed to work which may never be read widely within their own
lifetime. What I think is this: "what I find lacking is the -need- for my
care; if my care is to be responsible, it cannot be -necessary-, and where
it is not needed (such 'places' commonly require money also, and that is
not needed either) it would be irresponsible of me to bestow it." Hence,
compunction: popular, bastardised versions include: Buy Lo-Cal! Buy
British! Make a choice (Nike/Reebok)!



Ach,

Keston




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