Thursday, March 16, 2006
Jordan Davis asks "What is it with poets and terms of 19th century sociology? What vets books and poems titled with terms from Marx, Althusser-chic?" I've titled a few in those lines, so here goes:
With me, it's that my dad's a sociology prof. who studied at the New School in the late 60's/early 70's, with a bunch of folks who were, from what I understand, the inheritors of the heavy-duty high-thinking-exceptional strain of German sociology. This was (and is) a very important part of his personality. Him talking about Marx, and Weber, and Freud (and me reading them, a little later but still in the preadolescent ages), strangely enough, form a significant portion of my childhood experience, the concepts I apprehended or half-apprehended as much as the sensation of having absolutely no understanding of what I was being told/read. So I probably use it for different reasons than most poets. The shit's in my bones, and is more of an emotion/sensation for me than it is an intellectual experience. Not that the explicit use of those terms is a major strain of my poetry (though I think the undercurrent abovementioned is), but I do use it. So for example, that's why, in my chapbook, I put the poem "Means of Production . . ." near the Van Gogh/father poem--I don't think a reader would see the connection so straight, and I didn't intend it to be so, but they run nicely together, I thought, for the reasons discussed above. Now I know there’s probably a lot of ore in that rift to mine for a poetry which references both public and private in a powerful and personal way, but I’m not there yet; securitized debt’ll have to wait, I’m confident it’ll be there waiting whether I like it or not.
I can't represent for anyone but myself, but there it is.