Saturday, March 31, 2012

Negative Capability Poetics

Negative Capability Poetics

Negative Capability

The idea being—
To apply Keats’
Negative Capability
To Sylvia Plath

The way that—
John Berryman
Applied it to
Mistress Bradstreet

The way that—
Susan Howe
Applied it to
Emily Dickinson

The way that—
Jack Spicer
Applied it to
Federico Garcia Lorca

Poets Working Together

“to meet the work
with writing”
—Susan Howe
Postmodern Poetry:
The Talisman Interviews

She doesn’t trust writers—
She only trusts the story
And the place

The story & the place—
Tied together in strange
Mysterious, profound ways

She trusts the story—
To form its own voice
Like Spicer “After Lorca”

To take Lorca & duende—
Outside his language and
Recast it somehow ours

Like Howe reading to—
Rewrite Emily Dickinson
To Unwrite the Male Muse

It takes another poet—
To do the urgent task of
Undoing Johnson’s editions

The actual physical act—
Of where the Line breaks
In Dickinson’s letter-poems

And Emily’s poem-letters—
The textual problems
With Harvard Lit Crit

The way males treat Emily—
Her handwritten productions
Chauvistically manhandled

Instead Howe meets Emily—
Working thru writing not
Explaining or translating

To meet Emily in time—
Not just place to place
But writer to writer

Mind to mind—
Friend to friend
And poet to poet

Disintegrating Male Archives

Not to tribute Emily—
But meet her in tribute
“My Emily Dickinson”

Nixon’s Archives—
Full of perpetual lies
And political ironies

The gaps & silences—
The erasures and the
Watergate cover-ups

The same with the
Plath & Dickinson archives
Such stupid Male Lit Crit

What do we know—
What does anybody know
Who rules these Archives?

Are Poets reliable?—
Is Poetry any more
Reliable than Prose Lit Crit?

Subversive Narratologies—
The politics and poetry
Of Plath and Dickinson

Beginning with fragments—
Bits and pieces of a text
Ensorcelling the reader

Ensconced in euphoria—
Wordhorde weirding way
With Negative Capability

Sunday 21 Dec. 1817
Hampstead Sunday

What quality went to—
Form a Man of Achievement
Especially in Literature

I mean Negative Capability—
When a man is capable of
Being in uncertainties,

Mysteries, doubts, without
Any irritable reaching after
Fact and reason (Coleridge)

Letting go by a fine isolated
Verisimilitude caught from the
Penetralium of mystery, being

Capable of remaining content
With half-knowledge. A poet
With this sense of Beauty

Overcomes every other
consideration, OBLITERATES
all other considerations

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