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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...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Place holders (2)

Here is some placeholding writing I did a few days ago:
Like Valente, Antonio Gamoneda reinterprets Lorca’s poetics in his own terms. He is Lorquian for three reasons: (1) begins with pain and suffering as the basic premise. Writing toward death as slow progress, in contrast to Lorca’s duende which emphasizes immediate danger. Heidegger's "ser para la muerte"(2) Fully modernist in his use of language, his theory of signification. The use of metaphor as a “porque sí” and his via negativa. (3) A negative vision of modernity itself. He also uses specifically Lorquian language, including words like llanto, but transposes it to a different landscape, identified with the North of Spain rather than Lorca's Andalusia
This became this:
Antonio Gamoneda, unlike Valente, engages in a dialogue with Lorca’s poetics without marked anxiety or subterfuge, openly acknowledging the strength of his precursor rather than holding him at arm’s distance. Gamoneda, generally speaking, is less self-consciously concerned than is Valente with his own place in the literary pantheon, and hence less preoccupied with claims about lineage, or with establishing his own originality. That being said, Gamoneda’s poetics is both rooted in Lorquian principles and profoundly transformative of them.

Like Lorca, Gamoneda begins with a negative view of modernity itself and a referential field situated in a timeless, rural landscape. He also shares Lorca’s tragic vision of pain, sorrow, and death. Gamoneda’s poetic language is fully modernist in its radical mode of signification. These Lorquian elements, however, reappear in the poetry of the younger writer in an altered state. Gamoneda’s landscape is cold and snowy, in contrast to Lorca’s Andalusian heat. For Gamoneda, human life is a Heideggerian being-toward-death very different in tone from the idea of the duende as a heightened awareness of the ever-present possibility of tragic violence. Finally, Gamoneda’s language maintains a distinctively Lorquian resonance, but one that reflects these other transformations.
What's the difference? In my placeholding note-taking, I didn't articulate the relations between the elements I had enumerated. I didn't articulate the compare / contrast with Valente. I am still not happy with the last sentence here, because of its vagueness, but you can get the idea.

We still have to do compare / contrast moves like a high-school student, just at a higher level of critical sophistication (one hopes). That's why it's important to have learned those skills early on.


Andrew Shields said...

Student writing often settles for the note-taking list, without articulating "the relations between the elements."

The last sentence would work well if the next paragraph(s) fill(s) in the blanks of how it is rooted in L principles and how it transforms them

Jonathan said...

Well, the whole rest of that section elaborates on those three points. What I have to do is have a succinct summary of a rather complex point in one or two sentences here.

Really powerful poetic language fuses abstraction and concreteness, metaphor and the literal level. That's the core idea. It's not the moon as symbol of death, blah, blah, blah. It's the actual moon first, not just a sign in some symbolic code.

Do the two poets do this. Lorca through sudden leaps of metaphor, Gamoneda through a materialist sense of language where the literal level must be attended to. That reflects the shift from the tragic hot Andalusia to the snowy, slow León.

Tomorrow I will be able to articulate this better.

And, yes, I would like to read your essay on Benjamin and Baudelaire if it isn't too much trouble to scan it.

Andrew Shields said...

"It's the actual moon first, not just a sign in some symbolic code." Yes, yes, yes. 100% agreement on this point!

I'll try to scan that old essay tomorrow morning.

Professor Zero said...

Distraction: MLA says this discussion is not practical. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/01/07/mla-not-quite-consensus-reforming-doctoral-education