Thursday, February 21, 2008

More on Moxley's Autobio

I continue to read Moxley's book during my lunch breaks and before bed. I am moved continually by how different we as poets today are different from our antecedents.

Poets and other artists before our contemporary times could dwell on the margins and reengage with poetry or other artforms after a fine gestation. Today the contemplative is not the goal of most poets. The goal of most poets is to be engaged via the net, small presses and social contacts so that you can continue to be relevant to the poetic conversation. As if quiet would cause us to become more irrelivent if this were possible?

The life that so many poets have lived in the past where poetry was important to their lives but they also lived apart from poetry is gone forever . There are no more William Carlos Williams or Wallace Stevens because their lifestyle could not fit into the contemporary poetic paradigm. We need always to be engaged.

Moxley in someways is a bridge- and as a GenXer she is emblamatic of this "bridgeness". I continue to read this Auto Bio and I keep thinking about all the 'activity' I am involved in regarding poetry and how little of it has to do with the work. Moxley's 'work' has always been well crafted and insightful. I think often about the various women poets (The way pollock called Lee Krasner a damn good woman painter) who embody this sense.

I think as I continue to read Moxley's work I am impressed at her depth and interior life and how strong it is compared with recent poet memoirs I have read like Christian Wiman's book of essays that have a certain separation from depth and the interior while Moxley's work is depth and feels sometimes more like I am reading the Confessions than a memoir of a woman of my own time and my own space.

1 comment:

GJPW said...

I really love Moxley's book, too. I like the fact that it's so long, which allows us to become immersed not only in the process of her poetic apprenticeship, but also giving us a sense of how a young poet lives & responds to a specific age.

You point out a crucial quality of her book, its sense of being "timeless." It's great to find the mid to late 80s "immortalized" so beautifully.

Being part of "Gen X" (though I still sort of cringe at the term), I'm convinced that the decade between mid-80s and mid-90s was extremely important, particularly for us poets. So, I've been thinking of her book as a document of that era.

Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on the book.