Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Lit blogs

On the day I first encounter mention of an "A-list of lit bloggers," I also happen upon the following in Josh Corey's response to Houlihan's latest swipe:

Those who get enough of [the education necessary to read an organic poem, i.e., a poem in which all of the parts are subordinated to the whole] by luck or diligence or fortunate class position (a few people are still privileged enough to get genuine liberal arts educations in this country) might then be satisfied with the pleasure they are able to obtain from organic poems whose range of reference (or again context or whatever) they are now equipped to interact with. It's a smaller minority still who continue their education into the greater difficulties (and more sophisticated pleasures) of the nonorganic, and who have the corresponding willingness to "be modern," which means to accede to their limited and limiting position in a culture which marginalizes and represses any practice capable of putting that culture's values into serious question.
I see an incredible and wide-ranging effort from Silliman on down to disseminate the education of desire, to teach, to turn against all odds their privately obtained education back into the public thing, the res publica, that it was always meant to be. That's why there's such a strong emphasis on community among post-avant writers and that's why poets-as-teachers* is a positive good and not something to be lamented. And that's why I celebrate blogging as a means not only of providing more direct access to writers for more people than has ever been possible before, but as means of narrowing the gap between "reader" (one who passively receives) and "writer" (who thinks/creates). As I've said before, my utopia of poetry is a world where EVERYONE is a poet, in which all voluntarily assume the pains and pleasures that come with the highest possible sensitivity to language.

Beautiful. (The rest of the response is good reading, too.) So, I ask somewhat rhetorically, why the need for an A-list?

* Corey doesn't mention the idea that the teachers are learning as well, that this part of the blogosphere seems to function at its best as a kind of open, self-directed seminar (or, better, a group of interlinked ones), but I imagine he would agree.


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