Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Passion of Santa Teresa d'Avila and Joshua Corey
"I want to pursue an intuition about the baroque as a mode of American poetry—a mode of early modernity particularly well adapted to a postmodern era which has seen an acceleration of the modern tendency to break down experience into fragments. It is peculiarly well-suited to a poetics of resistance—not in a nostalgic re-creation of some lost lifeworld, but through a radical materialism that paradoxically creates a new aperture for subjective, even spiritual, experience."
This is a quote from an essay on Actionyes (See link) by Joshua Corey who among many things is a neighbor here in Chicago and his essay-- caused me to want to blog on a Sunday morning when I should have been at Mass. The essay caused a flood of reactions and thoughts and since I am not a rational academic I just vomited my ideas on the page hoping for a discussion with my poetic betters........
The essay he wrote is provocative and needs to be addresses as the seminal work that it is in the debate on whether poetry can transform. To look towards it as a way to reconstruct the Passionate (in the Medieval Sense of the Passion Play) is worth spending volumes on. Joshua Corey has ripped open a wound in poetry here that needs to be filled with salt. Also- since Josh and I are neighbors I expect a call so we can argue and discuss in person.....
One of the problems with After-Postmodern poetry (Which I define as anything after Language Poetry) is that Passion is removed from the work and irony is the center of the work. A piece of art like the Ecstasy of St Teresa of Avila which I think is the Baroque's crowd symbol extraordinaire-- is impossible today because we have moved into a world of irony where art is to criticize but never to construct. The kind of sublime spiritual has appeared only in a few places in our times and mostly on the margins.
The Catholic Baroque was in fact a response to the rationalism of the Protestant Reformation. This debate between Passion and Reason is the key debate from Luther until Freud discovered the subconscious. Catholics do not have the luxury of deconstruction we dwell in a world of accumulation and layering. To remove one piece destroys the whole. Our age is more like the Radicals of Menno Simons who want to remove until we get to the bone....
When we look at a Neo-baroque project as a possible way out of the irony filled modes we live in today questions becomes vexing.
How do we avoid the Romantic Fascism that filled so much of 19th Century German Thought? (FICHTE for Example)
How do we reintroduce passion into an artform that has been cleansed of this sense for so long?
(and not be made fun of alla Charles Bernstein)
Much of the Modern and Post Modern world has been based in revolution versus a kind of reaction. So you have for Marxism which wants to base everything in the material and
Reaction which wished to hark back to an idealized past.... the results of all these ideas has been death... almost every tragedy in the 20th century was part of this debate,
Armenian Genocide, Spanish Civil War, Holocaust, Russian Revolution/Stalinism, WWI & II, Rwanda, Bosnia, Latin American Dirty Wars, and on and on are all based in Revanchist, Reaction, and Revolution.
How do we create poetry?? That matters that is political that is both open to real history and tradition and revolutionary at the same time?? Read this essay above and think about this does it work for us?? can we use this??? I am spending the day thinking about this.... so provoked...
"The work of these poets hints at a continuing role for both major modes of the baroque in our poetry—a dialectic of destruction and construction that keeps us in touch with the body of the word, and reminds us of the possibilities of spirit."
Posted by Raymond Bianchi at 10:02 AM