Katrina Vandenberg on arranging poems for a collection
If you think of a work of art as a physical space, the Beatles have performed the trick of enlarging their space by claiming to narrow it. H. Emerson Blake, former editor in chief of Milkweed Editions, says a poet can perform similar sleight of hand: A title and any section titles or governing conceit probably work best if they expand, rather than limit, the reader’s understanding of the book. And when titling your book, in addition to asking, “What do all these poems have to do with one another?” he says you might also ask, “Who is the author who puts all of these poems — these marmalade skies, tangerine trees, and the Albert Hall — here in one place?” In the Beatles’ case, a psychedelic vaudeville group.
Thanks to Angela France for this link.
Robert Archambeau on the death of the manifesto
Broadly speaking, writers of poetic manifestos in the early decades of the twentieth century aimed at one of two kinds of things: to challenge the marginalization of poetry in society, and to challenge the center of poetry from the margins of the art. Dada and Surrealism provide examples of the ﬁrst kind of challenge. If there’s any generalization one can make about such unruly movements, it’s this: that they set out to break down the barriers between art (including poetry) and life. Poetry had become marginal to society because it had been cordoned off by the institutions of literature, by journals and anthologies and professors, and the febrile manifestos of Dada and Surrealism claimed that dissolving those institutions, and the very idea of art and literature as distinct areas of human activity, would return poetry to the broader life of the people. Other groups had the more modest (but still, when one thinks about it, rather grandiose) goal of reforming literature, challenging moribund orthodoxies from the margins and making literature new. Imagism is a good case in point: its well-known dicta (“Go in fear of abstractions,” “Don’t chop your stuff into separate iambs”) were meant to clear away the dominant modes of Georgian verse and elevate the taste of a small group of neophytes into a new literary standard. The center, hoped the Imagists, would not hold, and their aesthetic would be loosed upon the world.
At least one of the conditions that led to the ﬂourishing of manifesto writing still obtains: poetry is certainly somewhat marginal in our society. But what about the idea of a central style in need of reform? There’s really no single dominant poetic school in American poetry. Think of some of the most prominent poets, and immediately we see a range: Robert Pinsky’s discursiveness, John Ashbery’s and Jorie Graham’s elliptical verse, the formalism of Kay Ryan or Donald Hall, the Surrealist-inﬂected work of Charles Simic, the identity politics of Adrienne Rich or Rita Dove, the experimentalism of Charles Bernstein. Their work can’t be said to constitute a single dominant style in any meaningful sense. Certainly there are kinds of poetry (and kinds of poet) that are excluded from prominence, and we should remain sensitive to this and alert to the inequities of the current institutional arrangement. But we really don’t have an official culture like that of the old Soviet Union, nor do we have the narrow establishment taste of, say, France in the age of salon painting.
Dr Tara Tatiana Pandey deconstructs Savita Bhabhi
The subtext reeks of subjugation. The subjugation, no less of Bharat by India. Savita Bhabhi has power over Manoj even though she is the woman and he the man — an inversion of the traditional power structure. This represents the power disparity between Bharat and India being the reverse of what would be predicted simply by the populations, and therefore raw political power (in a representative democratic system) of the two entities. As Savita controls Manoj’s actions, so does India command the multitudes of Bharat. Savita directs the means of Manoj’s gratification; this parallels the dependence for their entertainment by millions of denizens of Bharat on entities controlled by English-speaking Indians. Manoj must seek Savita’s permission before starting on the means of obtaining release, just as Bharatiyas depend for their sustenance on an economic system controlled by Indians. In Manoj’s unfailing use of the honorific ji is addressing Savita, we may infer the use of honorifics and other entitlements by Indians to cement the seeming of their superiority over the lowly Bharatiyas. In a final, poignant moment in the episode, we see the at the conclusion of his labour, the unsated Savita gives Manoj another chore, holding out the promise of another unequal encounter. This clearly represents the eternal nature of the unequal system they enjoy in the minds of the Indians, and their confidence in their continued ascendancy over the Bharatiyas, whom they intend to exploit forever, a sort of Thousand-year-Reich that lasts forever in the mind of the oppressor.
For those who don’t know Savita Bhabhi and are planning to google her, expect to find a pornographic comic. Oh, and check out Dr Pandey’s bio: “Dr Tara Tatiana Pandey MA (Sophism) Lund University, PhD (Literary Deconstructionism of Popular Culture) St. Thomas-Freiburg Universität is the Alan Sokal Fellow of Egregious Deconstruction at the University of California, Sunnydale. Her book Tijuana Bibles in Modern Theology is now out in paperback.” – A