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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Motherwell and Kerouac

I had an interesting conversation about Robert Motherwell with a brilliant friend, a poet and art critic who actually knew Motherwell. Anyway, I realized I couldn't justify an entire section of a chapter on Motherwell, after talking to him. The sense was the Motherwell was better than people thought he was, so I couldn't offer a critique that was mostly negative. I will now condense that section and merge it with the rest of the chapter more seamlessly.

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Somehow the topic drifted to Kerouac and Clark Coolidge. I realized that my reading of Kerouac was filtered through Coolidge's having been influenced by K. It was a kind of filter, so that I could love Kerouac as Coolidge's precursor, rather than as the Bohemian stereotype. But, of course, I get that from talking to Ken Irby too. There is a kind of "poet's Kerouac." We take him seriously as a writer, not for his ostensible subject matter alone, or for clichés about him.

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Isn't that what I'm doing with Lorca too? Rescuing him from the stencil? The cliché? It is through the workings of influence that we see this. The way a subsequent poet filters our vision.

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