By Oren Izenberg
"Because i'm really not silent," George Oppen wrote, "the poems are bad." What does it suggest for the goodness of an paintings to rely on its disappearance? In Being quite a few, Oren Izenberg bargains a brand new strategy to comprehend the divisions that set up twentieth-century poetry. He argues that an important clash isn't really among kinds or aesthetic politics, yet among poets who search to maintain or produce the incommensurable particularity of expertise by means of making strong gadgets, and poets whose radical dedication to summary personhood turns out altogether incompatible with experience--and with poems.
Reading around the obvious gulf that separates conventional and avant-garde poets, Izenberg finds the typical philosophical urgency that lies at the back of assorted different types of poetic difficulty--from Yeats's esoteric symbolism and Oppen's minimalism and silence to O'Hara's cheerful slightness and the Language poets' rejection of conventional aesthetic satisfactions. For those poets, what starts off as a pragmatic query concerning the behavior of literary life--what distinguishes a poet or workforce of poets?--ends up as an ontological inquiry approximately social existence: what's anyone and the way is a neighborhood attainable? within the face of the violence and dislocation of the 20 th century, those poets face up to their will to mastery, draw back from the sensual richness in their most powerful paintings, and undermine the particularity in their imaginitive and ethical visions--all on the way to let personhood itself to turn out to be an indisputable fact making an unrefusable declare.
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Additional info for Being Numerous: Poetry and the Ground of Social Life (20/21)
57 Rather, he is taking the slaveholder as an extreme example of what it is like for a person to engage the problem of determining the presence of another mind and to fail. But such failures show us something about the actual conditions of success. For failing to treat a slave as a person is not, on Cavell’s account, a failure of knowledge about what another is. ) And because our knowledge of persons is not knowledge of something lying behind or within the body we encounter, no amount of knowledge about the nature of persons or even of souls would correct it.
The two careers begin in consensus: what gives Yeats pride of place for each is the poet’s incomparable achievement as an architect of forms and a master of sound; and for each, the performances and prerequisites of such mastery are the primary objects of critical attention. 12 After these inaugural projects, the two scholars would veer in dramatically different directions. ”13 For Vendler, meanwhile, Yeats was the future as well as the past. 8 It is also, in its very extravagance, one that the poet would have approved of.
65 For Celan, writing in the language of a nation that was the source of his pain and in the genre whose beauties had become a source of shame, the idea that making and falsifying would take place in the same breath arose out of the particulars of his own experience. And yet the pairing of poetry and perjury is not meant to be specific to this poet alone; Celan takes it to reflect a general cultural condition in which the sensual pleasures of lyric aesthetics are in danger of being disallowed. On this account (familiar to us, as to Celan himself, from Adorno’s notorious critique of poetry “after Auschwitz”), poetry, rather than forging the artifice by which personal pain can be made public, creates more opportunities for divisive individuation, misunderstanding, and misrecognition in a world in which persons are lost to us.