Tuesday, June 27, 2006


D: Well, you must be gearing up to go. Are you doing your usual packing light? I couldn't do that... Are you going to have time to blog before you leave? I could post something I suppose....

R: I leave Thursday morning. Yeah, I'm packing light. I plan to take just one carry-on bag, although I'm also shipping myself a small box of books to sell while I'm there. I'm not going with intentions of getting a lot (or any!) work done. I just plan to hang out with people (or by myself), maybe go for walks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, sit and read, etc. I'm not bringing much reading material, though. I'm bringing The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I probably mentioned I've started, and that's probably all.

I don't know about blogging. I just get a sick feeling of guilt now every time I look at the blog because I know I should be posting more but I just can't get into it.

D: Oh don't get a sick feeling of guilt about that. There are plenty of other things more important to worry about than the blog. I'll see if I can post something today. I just don't want to post anything that I'll be sorry if my class reads. And I don't want to jinx anything re my manuscript. And that leaves?

R: You could blog about some of the interesting stuff you were saying a few days ago about confessional poetry etc., distinguishing between honesty and nakedness, between matter-of-fact nakedness and exhibitionist nakedness, etc. Poetry does seem to be split between these two extremes of people who believe that only "abstract" poetry is valid, preferably a sort of abstract un-expressionism, and people who believe that only naked poetry is valid, preferably a sort of graphic nakedness, Portrait of the Artist Menstruating.

D: You mean: "I really like what you have to say about lines. (I may quote you.) I think that I felt the short lines indicated a lot of pauses, as you say....

When you say that TH is in favor of confessional, are you sure that you don't just mean narrative? I know some people equate the two. I see a difference among a) poetry that is strictly confessional--and maybe only people like Dorianne Laux are doing that now--or has she even moved beyond that; b) poetry that uses emotionally charged seeds to go somewhere (but those seeds may not even be organic to the writer)--exemplified perhaps by C. Dale's poem "Torn" or for that matter by my "Mom Poem," and c) poetry that is narrative, but maybe more distant from the writer (though Freud might say it's not!) like your narratives. And I suppose there's a whole range above, beyond, between, left, right, and center from all these. A lot has to do with intention, I think. Is the point "what happened," or is what happened merely the kinetic force of the stream? A lot depends on, too, how important it is that the reader believes X,Y, and Z really happened to the writer. That is, when you read the body of Sexton's work, you get a good idea of the realities of her life. Or Lowell's of his life. You don't get that from mine, I don't think, even if I used pinpoints of recollection in "Sonhar," for example, to evoke the flavor of a non-working relationship. Maybe I'm saying it's the difference between being honest emotionally (and I think your poems are) and being naked, even a difference between being naked in a functional way and exhibitionistic, like a flasher. Of course I'm showing my prejudices here..."

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