Friday, August 20, 2004

This reference, at Haring Makata, as well as being a post well worth reading, refers to lots of activity regarding Gary Snyder in blogdom--& I certainly have referred to him a few times in the last few weeks.

So I want to say, I’ve been ruminating on Gary Snyder not to dis him—I very much like him and often enough his work, though I have my quibbles—but a—because I’m trying out the synthesis of what nonwestern dualities I’ve allowed into my life with my poetry, and b-because (and related to reason a) I’ve recently done my first read through of Streckfus’ the cuckoo, and I’m trying to put into words my sense of that book. I have two lines of thought on it just now. My first is, the detached and completely authorial way he has with narrative and its energies. He knows how to build an expectation, and he knows how to satisfy one and in so doing, he shows you that the expectation you had is not the one you thought you had—that the behind-sense, the larger-consciousness one, is what gives the specific its meaning, and not the specific. This plays with his zen-derived (I think), koan-like, desire to show how the world’s specifics take themselves apart at the point of consciousness-inception, of narrative—narrative being, here, the desire to fit something into an algorithm to make it easily engaged-with.

Though after writing that, I went back to the book to see something, and read Louise Gluck’s introductory essay, and realized she’s saying something very similar, though in different and more apprehensible words. So I’ll move on to my second line of thought.

Second line of thought (intersecting): how this first engagement leads naturally to his more explicitly po-mo project in the book, the marriage of the old Chinese story “Journey to the West” not only with base physical reality, but with our own country’s march west and its narrative of Manifest Destiny, and attendant archaisms (bikes & monks, emperors and NGOs). The way the more traditionally mystical-consciousness impulse is at peace and at one with these techniques and their politics I like.

Tired now, so more later. With quotes, next time, too.

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