Saturday, September 11, 2004

I love Ginsberg. I think Silliman's right about "Wichita Vortex Sutra." And though reading it today, his prophetic outrage against the political destruction of language sounds, in 2004 terms, quaint and naive, even moreso I wish there were more writings this sharp against what our country is. I guess I wish I were doing so. I don't know if my reluctance is by nature or if my lack of artistic inclination in that direction is a failure of the soul. What are these times? I can't even see clearly yet.

It's interesting to me to compare Ginsberg's treatment of his mother's insanity with Pinsky's. Both Jewish, (both from New Jersey, too) both with mothers destructively beyond the bounds of meaning. Ginsberg turned with ecstatic outrage into himself/America (I guess you could also say he internalized it as a means of sublimating it, sort of an Orphic desire to go into the land of the dead and lead out the beloved), and Pinsky seems to have buttoned up his shirt, and figured out how to let enough steam off so as to keep steady until tomorrow (his "The Piano" is what I have in mind just now). I have no idea what to make of them. Or myself. I've always been conservative by nature, example: when I was sixteen, I read "Crime & Punishment" one night on vacation. When I finished, around dawn, I turned back to the frontpage, and my eyes rested on the copyright date (1876? I think?) until I understood that before this date, this book didn't exist, it had been written, by a person, who lived and watched time move, like I did, and that he didn't know what it was, until after it was done, and that meant I could try too.

Did I take the lesson? Go to a blank page? No. Somehow I figured I'd better read everything before I started with all that. So I didn't start until I took a creative writing class in college, and was told I had to. What does this have to do with Ginsberg? Or even Pinsky? Just my tendency to want to know before I know what doing is. But god, do I admire "Wichita Vortex Sutra" as a poem, as well as as an utterance.

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