Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brian Fawcett (Part Eight)

"At this point, I have a question of my own: Did the distinction I made in the 1980s between poetry and verse cause me to lose touch with an essential element of a writer’s craft?

I had a lot of it right in that 1980s essay—like Edmund in Shakespeare’s King Lear, I had seen the business. And, poetry is an essential mode of human thought."--Brian Fawcett.

An essential mode of human thought? What a chloroform-inducing statement. Most have lost whatever intrinsic artery to poetic expression they might once have been visited by. But even here, we're talking of the adjective, not the noun. Many people have a poetic flair, but have no clue of how to recognize, let alone think or write, the real stuff. Poetry is a concentrative craft, not a vague stylish tic or practical progressive technique.


"Verse, on the other hand, is a temporary cultural expression of poetry, and one that has been in a state of cognitive arrest for nearly 80 years. .......It simply aggravates the general offense that verse is sometimes given an official dignity and grandeur that poets—outside of those war poets—have had no way of earning for it in 200 years." --Brian Fawcett.

Maybe it's because I'm descending after another long day of follow-up gum complications, but my faculties are still awake enough to intone ....WTF? I was going to write a lengthy rebuttal, but what's the use .... Verse, dead, for 80 years? Poetry moribund for two centuries?

Perhaps Brian can re-energize those dormant powers and come to the rescue even though we're a little late -- it's past eight years into the progressively ascending millenium.

I haven't viewed hyperbolic poetics like this since Marlon Brando (in an interview with the clueless Connie Chung) declared poetry and music dead after Shakespeare and Mozart.

"Today it is hard for even the diehard partisans of verse to deny that the affective poetry of the late 20th century lies in the products of popular culture created by commercial technologists, popular musicians, film-makers and videographers. Popular culture being what it is, they have used the tools of poetry to sell consumer commodities, and intensify emotions, not to impart any sense of beauty or deliver crucial information"--Brian Fawcett.

Though the link to commercialism is correct, this has nothing to do with poetry, and everything to do with appropriation, co-opting, and cynical deployment of subliminal syntax and "poetic" buzzwords, and propelled by laryngeal violence, graphic sleight-of-eye, and typographic shotgun residue.


"As an essential investigative tool and mode of thought poetry is in a state of disuse, misuse and disrepair that indirectly threatens the continued survival of the human species and of life itself."--Brian Fawcett.

Oh, for Krissakes, Brian, quit giving yourself frissons by watching Apocalypse Post-Blake.

Proportion is a wonderful quality to have, for poets and non-poets alike.


"Unfortunately, I don’t have any practical suggestions about how to rectify this that won’t require several years and 2000 pages of prose to articulate."--Brian Fawcett.

Ahhahahaha! Compassion, I say! We need answers. Bereft of poetry for another millenium if not for Fawcett's pivotal-spigotal intervention.


More to follow ....

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