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:
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 recherch√© 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.

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