whining notwithstanding

The news from home in the papers is the worst part of the day. I don’t know how to endure what is being done in Ireland — it is too utterly bestial and vile. And I see that there is a much more severe repression of communists in England than there used to be. In this part of the world the people who appear most wicked are the Japs and the people who appear least so are the Americans. But I think all mankind utterly vile. The Bolsheviks, till I knew them, seemed better; now they don’t. If the Sinn Feiners got their independence, and England turned Socialist, Ireland would play the part Poland has been playing lately. People seem good while they are oppressed, but they only wish to become oppressors in their turn: life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim. The world is rushing down into barbarism, and there seems nothing to do but keep alive civilization in one’s corner, as the Irish did in the 7th and 8th centuries. So I study Einstein and dream of retiring to a Buddhist monastery in the hills.
— From a letter to Ottoline Morrell, 2 Sui an Po Hutung, 17 December 1920, in The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell: The Public Years, 1914-1970, edited by Nicholas Griffin, London and New York: Routledge, 2001, pp. 214-215, emphasis added. Continue reading whining notwithstanding

required answers

1. Are you a writer of poetry, or principally a reader?

I am an obsessive scribbler of doggerel that punctuates passionate purveyance of prurient pedantry.

2. Did you ever take courses specifically in the writing or study of poetry in college or high school (as opposed to general literature surveys)?


3. Do you buy/read poetry magazines or chapbooks? Anthologies of past great poets?

No, sometimes, yes. There are never enough noteworthy poets in any generation to fill an annuary, let alone a more frequent periodical. By contrast, chapbooks afford reasonable protection from saddle sores, whereas anthologies serve to highlight les petits maîtres.

4. Do you attend poetry readings, either as a reader or audience member?


5. If a writer of poetry, have you ever published your work in hard-copy, such as a magazine or chapbook? Do you publish or post your work on the web?

No, yes.

6. Have you ever written any articles, essays, or analyses of poetry? If so, would you be willing to present them to this community to stimulate discussion?

Yes, some time soon.

7. Why exactly do you like poetry? What does it do to you?

I like poetry that creates a novel and lasting direction of moral insight. It promotes my metabolism. As Samuel Beckett told Walter Lowenfels, all I want to do is sit on my arse and fart and think about Dante. There you have it, a fundamental connection.

8. Who are your favorite poets? If a writer, do these same poets influence your style, or are there others?

Gaius Valerius Catullus, Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, Charles Baudelaire, Tristan Corbière, Stéphane Mallarmé, Wallace Stevens, Samuel Beckett, Philip Larkin, Michel Houellebecq. There are many others.

9. What “schools” or styles of poetry appeal to you most? Why?

Symbolism and glossolalia. I like poetry that suffices to explain itself.

10. What distinguishes a good poem? What must be present in a poem to make it “work” or resonate for you?

A good poem must define a novel and lasting direction of moral insight: « donner un sens plus pur aux mots de la tribu ». Vigorous promotion of my metabolism makes it resonate for me.

11. There are some people who fill up notebooks with hundreds of poems, yet could not properly be called poets, and there are others who, no matter how little they write, very clearly deserve the epithet “poet.” What makes a poet?

Appreciation of his subservience to philosophy.

12. What sort of topics would you like to see discussed in the about_poetry community?

Analytic and historical criticism and close reading.

Crossposted to [info]larvatus and [info]about_poetry.