Dear Dispatches:
 
Thanks for the Duncan/Watten Zukofsky recording — this seems to fit in very well with my own thoughts about legitimacy and legitimation in the world of the poetry wars, with a certain camp’s existence predicated on the negation of the legitimacy of another– lingolango can only be the thing, as can the mythic, or the bardic or the whatever– I’m listening to the tape in the background as someone (Duncan, I think) is saying “This is the last word…” which is so fitting–I’m coming to some conclusions, and trying to fit them all together– that at some point, poetry is whatever a poet says, or does, or declares poetic, and the real problem/work, is getting to the point where you are a poet, and most of what we fight about is not the poetry, but who is a poet and how they got there (I wrote something about “platforms” of poetic identity in Chaucer and Machaut in grad school– have to find that); the other is the need poets have for a community,  and what kind of influence that need exerts on the formation of the poet and its poems– (some new/ongoing project trying to understand Yevtushenko’s formation in the Soviet state and his subsequent reception/rejection). Sadly, poets seem to be more and more in need of delineating these communities by making enemies of those outside of their borders.
 
Truth is, language is a thing (not just), and it’s useful to think about it that way sometimes, just as it’s useful to think about a lot of other stuff– the problem lies not in that line of thinking, but rather the requirement by those who espouse it to declare it the only valid way to look at it.
 
So much of intellectual life, post modernism, teeters precipitously on the edge of nothing more than assertion; the concomitant anxiety tends to make  us either energized or  petty, or both.
 
Sigh. Sorry if this is a bit disjointed. Now on to the duties of the day…
 
John