By Oren Izenberg
"Because it's not that i am 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 a variety of, Oren Izenberg bargains a brand new approach 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 through making robust 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 in the back of varied 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 as a realistic query concerning the behavior of literary life--what distinguishes a poet or workforce of poets?--ends up as an ontological inquiry approximately social lifestyles: what's anyone and the way is a group attainable? within the face of the violence and dislocation of the 20 th century, those poets withstand their will to mastery, turn away from the sensual richness in their most powerful paintings, and undermine the particularity in their ingenious and ethical visions--all with a view to permit personhood itself to end up an indisputable fact making an unrefusable declare.
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Extra resources for Being Numerous: Poetry and the Ground of Social Life (20/21)
Writing myself into the history of poetic intentions I describe, I also argue for the interest and value (if not necessarily the truth) of a theory of collective intentions that is crucially internalist: it conceives of the ability 39 P O E M S , P O E T R Y, P E R S O N H O O D of forming intentions for partnership-in-action whether or not one has a partner— indeed, whether or not anyone else in the world exists. The ability to recover—by reading poems—a conviction in even the solitary person’s innate and “primitive” capacity to formulate “we-intentions” may, I suggest, have a transformative effect on one’s felt capacities for relationship, and reorient the person toward a shared world.
74 INTRODUCTION 32 and reception. Perhaps nothing has seemed a riper target for this project of contextualization and de-idealization than the idea of poetry itself. Thus, in her recent brief for what she calls a “historical poetics,” Yopie Prins celebrates the achievements of critics who would bring externalist historicism into the idealist heart of the poetic. ”75 Perhaps the most fully realized example of such a critic thus far is Virginia Jackson, who, in her careful work on Emily Dickinson, inveighs against the modern retro-projection of the reifying category of lyric upon the incommensurable communicative practices, personal relations, generic conventions, and discourse communities that make up the life led in proximity to poetry: [T]he overlapping or incongruous details, seasons, public and private histories, battles and pets, sex scandals and insect remnants, books, newspapers and all sorts of familiar letters that surrounded the lines later published as a Dickinson lyric could not be said to be what the lines are “about” .
197 and cp. Yeats’s “A Deep Sworn Vow”) (379) 21 I look at an animal and am asked: what do you see? ”—I see a landscape; suddenly a rabbit runs past. ”58 And alongside it, for comparison, the Yeats: Others because you did not keep That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine; Yet always when I look death in the face, When I clamber to the heights of sleep, Or when I grow excited with wine, Suddenly I meet your face. In this section of Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein is offering an alternative to the idea that seeing is mere blank perception posing a sort of question to which we match our answering concepts.
Being Numerous: Poetry and the Ground of Social Life (20/21) by Oren Izenberg