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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What you are supposed to like is not what you really will end up liking

I grew tired of the High (Late) Modernism of Valente and Gamoneda. It was what you were supposed to like, I guess. I decided I didn't have much use for MarĂ­a Zambrano. Regretfully, because that is what I was supposed to like, according to that particular view of the canon. I decided I didn't need to write on Lezama Lima. I can still admire Gamoneda, but I don't have to like him because he is in that canon with Valente, Lezama, and Zambrano. At one time I was quite taken with the idea of Zambrano, but she never ended up delivering it for me. After all, here is a great modernist Spanish philosopher who is also a woman and feeds directly into the kind of late modern poetry I have admired, like that of Valente. And yet I end up being not so zambraniano.  I have to give myself credit for trying for many years. In some ways it was the failure of Zambrano admirers to formulate articulate commentaries on her work that did me in.

Marjorie Perloff doesn't like Duncan or Olson, and it's ok. I agree with her there, for one thing. Same thing with Laura Riding. If Marjorie had pretended to like these people just to get along, I would not respect her as much. Of course, I would never blame somehow who did like Duncan or Zambrano; that would be even worse.  It would be a boring world without disagreements.

I like the unpredictability of it. A writer is experimental within the kind of canon I usually accept, and I can't predict my reaction. I might love it, or hate it, or anything in between.

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