Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Beginning of a Poetics

I find myself this week writing a new poetics. What I want to write about is the movement past irony in my own work. I got the idea for a poetics while listening to Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature, which deals with the decrease in human violence. In the particular section I'm talking about, Pinker uses the term third nature. If first nature is our instincts and second nature is our learned behavior, then third nature is our reflection on what norms are still useful to us. We can be all ironic because civilization's so civil that we don't have to worry about anybody taking us so serious as to pose a threat. How great for poetry and other art. However, Wallace is onto something—that is, that irony is good as a way to tear things apart but is shit for building. Besides all that, I now find it really easy to gag on the whole idea of saying one thing while trying to mean another, all the while laughing at the cleverness while trying not to laugh because then you'd be seen as liking your own joke and thus at risk for taking yourself seriously. So there we go. Those are some of my thoughts—nothing too concrete so far, but it's a place to start. Course, being removed from an English-book-havin' library, it's going to be hard to do some of the research for this mother, but maybe I can find what I need anyway.

Since my thirtieth, I've been writing a poem and one other thing from some other genre every week. I miss grad school, when I could kick around all day and read and write, and while being over here allows me to wonder at how to comprehend the language, if for no other reason than to be able to explain it to somebody whose first language isn't English, it's hard to swim all day in words and then try to make them into something at night. Still, it's worth it, I feel, this ongoing

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