I incorporate O’Hara’s attitudes: a near-Romantic high seriousness, an investment in my own pathos. I don’t yearn for high intellectual seriousness. Sometimes I think (perhaps wrongly) that poets who come up through the MFA route have a falsely idealized intellectuality, because they think that intellectuality is the magic serum that they’re going to inject into poetry to lift it above the folderol of an earlier generation. Sometimes I don’t even consider myself a poet; I’m better known as a prose writer or an art critic. When I write a poem, I don’t try to address a major ideological issue or question the veracity of the lyric. I don’t feel burdened by the major obligations that some poets these days bring to the table when they write. Let me put it bluntly: I’m fed up with Adorno; I’ve had plenty of Adorno; if I want Adorno, I know where he is; if Adorno appears in my poems it’s because I want to fuck his ass and it’s not because I think it’s really, really important to educate the reader about Adorno; if Adorno appears in my poem, it’s because he’s making a cameo appearance in drag. I think it’s great to read Adorno (I love Minima Moralia…I almost bought a German copy of it at Lame Duck Books the other day), but I do not feel it’s my job to educate the reader about Adorno. My stance is an aesthete’s, like Frank O’Hara’s. He includes Poulenc and other recherché figures in his poems, but only because they are the furniture in his mind; he’s not making a bid for poetry as a new form of critical theory or historiography.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
"The juxtaposition is a yard sale"
Christopher Hennessy interviews Wayne Koestenbaum (link courtesy of Dave Lull). Here's a bit I especially liked, but there's lots of other amazing stuff too: