Sorry about the weather, Tim. Though Bay Area mornings are often cold and overcast, like today, the sun is usually there in the afternoons, gleaming from a bright sky. Smugly, she says: I live in Paradise!

“You’re only playing with words.” Is that a criticism? I guess it’s the “only" that makes it so, and possibly the idea of play, horrifying to the puritan mind. I’d wash that criticism from my brain! Someone clearly doesn’t understand the process of writing.  

My tiny brain likes to reduce things down to their simplest terms and so again I find the term “authentic” inapplicable to craft and philosophically duplicitous. I read somewhere (source now forgotten) that the Geordie accent is the “most trusted” in the UK. If you have a telemarketing or political project you need a Geordie to speak your words to best convince your would-be audience. Perhaps they are also the most authentic speakers of poetry.

Gotta run. Hauling wood and stone today, in homage to the material world and a private aesthetic.


QS: Let’s return to poetics.
JR: When did we leave?

—From the conversation between Quinta Slef and Joan Retallack, The Poethical Wager

On May 14, 2018, at 6:50 AM, Tim Allen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Jaime - sorry for delay, been trying to catch the sun - here in Britland we have to grab it while we can.

I essentially agree with what you say below, but only essentially - ha! Ever since I got into this game of having poetry published and commented upon I've had to challenge this 'authentic' thing by people who don't like what I do and don't like the poets I love because of some stupid notions concerned with the 'authentic', the 'real', the genuine etc. The number of times I was told 'you're only playing with words' - that type of thing. I've encountered people who have the idea that a poem about the natural world is authentic but a poem about the social urban world is not, etc. I've encountered people who think that only words they are familiar with are authentic words while anything else, scientific terms or whatever, are inauthentic. The only type of non-normal poem that such people hold up as authentic are 'fantasies' - fantasies are ok, they are what they are, but not if you mix a fantasy up with a reality etc. All this sort of rubbish is still around in the lower divisions.

So why then can I use the word in relation to Denise Riley? If you see the reply I gave to Dave B just now you can see how I have some idea of the 'inauthentic' with regard to some mainstream poetry. I know it's a very iffy thing to say, but there you go. 

Thinking some more about this.... but in the sun away from this shadow.


On 13 May 2018, at 17:29, Jaime Robles wrote:

I too find authenticity a troubling term, Tim. Not only because it seems antithetical to the basic concept of craft in art, but also because I’m not sure HOW or even WHY it applies to art. I can see the point of it in legal and political discussions, and even there it seems a shaky criterion. Part of the pro-Trump follower's affirmation of their preferred leader is that he is authentic. He says what he believes, etc. (little of which is true, of course). And much of Bernie Sanders appeal (v. Clinton) was around issues of authenticity. Too often just sticking to one’s perceptions (accurate or not) in a loud and insistent way is seen as authenticity, even honesty. It’s also undeniable that their followers feel loyalty, and that’s authentic. Though what engenders that feeling may be of questionable ethics. And when talking about authenticity we are talking ethics.

I think it’s something I’d prefer to cross of the lists of artistic criteria, simply because authenticity lies, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

If one has a feeling it’s authentic, period. 

How, or if one even should express that feeling accurately, is another issue. I believe that when someone says So’n’So is authentic, it means, simply, "I understand what that person felt; they have conveyed it accurately for me”.