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I think that my post on politics/metaphysics has been misunderstood -
perhaps, as Douglas Clark suggests, because of its quite dense prose style
(which on the whole I am inclined to defend, btw.)  In asking whether
poetry could be other than metaphysical, I did not mean to theorise any
limit for the involvement of particular poems in particular political
circumstances; much of the poetry that I admire intends quite explicitly to
promote its hopes for redress, for a 'true good fame' or for heightened or
less superficial forms of attention in readers and others.  I hope that my
own poetry is as explicit on this head as others, and that any such
explicitness is characterized without too many self-perjuring affects. 
What I did say was this: that poetry itself is a platform for valued
contents, that it promotes content (ideas, arguments, polemics, political
information, whatever) to a social field which, unlike poetry itself, is
constituted partially by the availability of such contents to reifying
human actions.  Poetry itself is thus in my scheme not identical with the
ambition of its contents, be they explicit or implied.  I mentioned in that
post, as an access to questions of metaphysics, Lukács' historical
materialist belief in the incompatibility of dialectics and metaphysics,
which can be hinted at in the following quote from his essay 'What is
Orthodox Marxism?': "in all metaphysics the object remains untouched and
unaltered so that thought remains contemplative and fails to become
practical; while for the dialectical method the central problem is to
change reality."  Poetry itself, distinct from any violent or equable
assays that it promotes as valued contents, seems to me to be essentially
pervaded by metaphysics; this does not confine it or reduce its means
quietistically, but requires (on the contrary) that readers and writers
create conversationally a shared injunction to legitimate only those
contents with which they agree importantly.   
        This argument may seem a little cosmetic, we are hoping for similar
ends; but I think it important to maintain a distinction between the
-opportunity- to instigate critical reflection (poetry) and the material
-facts- that constitute any such instigating (content), if only because
this difference so defined is itself a basic dialectic which, if
overlooked, becomes a fallow resource within writing that might otherwise
have made people more honest about the commitment required to use poetry
without blind confidence in its mythical efficacy.  Also, because the
capacity to characterize a content as opportune - poetry's capacity - is
significantly analogous to certain social powers that achieve for other
commodities this character.  We should acknowledge our proximity to these
powers, understand precisely how poetry's capacity differs from that of
advertising for example (how do these two operations characterize their
product as opportune?  How can we instigate a greater difference between
the ways in which they do this?).  

Keston              


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