I very much enjoyed Andrea's remarks on Keston's work. Quite a few times
when K has posted poems I was on the point of dropping a note to the list
but due to tiredness or the general (and pleasant) family hubub missed my
chance. There is a great deal to enjoy and admire in Keston's complex and
energetic lines. I do think that a great deal of the apparent silence which
greets posted poetry is more due to the frenetic pace of the list, and in my
case at least, a strong sense of the banality of my response. "I really
like it" hardly seems worth inflicting on the entire list, yet backchannel
only can seem a little cagey -- i like it but don't quote me -- yet complete
silence can be chilly for the poem-poster.
At 13:57 29/01/98 -0500, you wrote:
>What a relief. Yesterday was nothing but rancour, opportunistic
>bitterness, and predictable scorn which perhaps I don't need to come
>flashing regularly across my desktop.
>I agree with Peter Riley in his charges of "conformism, smug know-all
>superiority, and opportunistic careerism" in the smaller set. This is often
>an effective resource for announcements, considered reviews, and
>Perhaps as often it's a trough for jealous recriminations, exploiting the
>captivity of the audience (perhaps the only one you ever get) and its
>invisibility to launch invectives which can usually be explained either
>--as some token self-legitimisation against the big literary history eraser
>which, you know, is coming for you.
>Of course, the considered opinion flares up, but isn't it easy to knock off
>a bit o' work with your soundbite. The performance bears striking
>resemblance to that State of the Union speech/rally I watched this week.
>Under the blazon of democratic participation, media performances mostly
>governed and there was always the lurking opportunity to whip up an
>alien enemy when you were losing the argument.
>It's with complete cognizance of my own impeachability, so unlike my
>fearless leader, that I have to make at least the passing comment on
>remarks made about my partner Keston's poetry yesterday. Sorry, KS.
>My relation perhaps balances out with a slight expertise, as I have been
>reading Keston's poems for several years now, and concentrated on
>The violence with which some of his poems attack ethical equililbrium
>cannot be ignored, and neither do his poems request a cynical
>desensitization. This violence is coupled with extraordinary lyric power
>and a commitment to investigation of politic which makes much of what
>I've read, even amongst us, seem like so much decorative styling of
>derivative tripe bandied back towards its founders.
>For example, out of medium, and my bone to perpetually prick: compare
>the sanctimony of feminist, or at least gender-friendly, claims on this list (I
>don't mean anything towards real life personalities, almost all of which I
>don't know) to the actual participation by women.
>What's more, Keston's poetry is characterized by a philosophical
>inventiveness which may scare off the more mentally timid, or those who
>resist the convergence of difficult style with difficult ideas.
>That isn't, certainly, the last word, and given the amount of Keston's
>work posted and ignored on this station, I hope it won't be here.
>Natheless, I thought some defense of his actually admirable capabilities
>might be necessary as few people will have had the resources at hand
>to disprove Ira's bash personally.
>And, given Ira's entrance to this list some months ago, blushing and
>glowing over the outpouring of human warmth and defense of his poem
>against some allegation of its crapness, I thought it only fair. I don't know
>anything about Ira's work except for his reading during the RemPress
>series, which was definitely sub-par.
>Signing permanently and voluntarily off,