On October 24, 2008, on his not poetry blog, Bill Knott posted which is too much. Through an anecdote from the Selected Writings of Walter Benjamin, the practice of Mallarmé initiates what soon becomes a serious discussion about poets and what to him are the two core esthetics. - Thus Brecht versus Rilke and their associated ramifications. See the Selden Rodman quote taken from the Preface for his 1949 Anthology: One Hundred Modern Poems. Reading Mr. Knott's words hit me in the head much as (when we were in grade school) Markevich's glove did in what was supposed to be a controlled boxing match I immediately stopped, knowing I would not be able to defend myself against his longer reach. Honestly, I do not intend to counter Bill Knott's thinking here either; but I will be sharing past and present turns of mine that will include some poems because of the ideas in them. Stunningly--to me at least--back in the 1960s I wrote this sonnet and in the 1970s this for Doug Flaherty poem; but just so you can grasp-- should you prefer to ignore them--why they matter now, here are their titles: "The Future Belongs to the Rilkeans" and "The Marriage of God and Money". * I was raised as a Roman Catholic. Knott: "The question then as today seems to be, what 'faith' should one aspire to 'contribute' one's artistic efforts toward the furtherance of: individual (spiritual) or collective (socialist)?" And later: "'Individual faith' versus 'Collective faith.' Capitalism (Religion/ Fascism) versus Socialism. Or: Style versus Content." What is difficult for me now is that I cannot take one side over the other. Further, equating Religion with Fascism forced me to seek an extended definition of the latter. I found one. It is at Old Amercian Century. 14 Points are listed. However, under each point are numerous links to copyrighted material. I suggest you read only the 14 points and what the final link zaps to. Humans are humans, and while extensive quality-of-life changes continue to occur, quality-of-thought changes have taken on different faces but essentially remained the same. Know that I say this, hoping I am wrong. - Still, poets are conduits. Some are so of this. Some are so of that. Some consistently/purposely change. Some are so of whatever, or like to imagine they are. I am among those. Accordingly, the aesthetic I support is: Write as you are moved to write. Here are three more Knott statements: - "In fact, in this dispensation, in this scale of esthetics, the more insignificant the ostensible subject is, the better." - "The more boring the content, the more intriguing the style (theoretically)." - "Content/subject/intent are excrescences that burden the work with extraneous matter." Finally, as befits him, Bill Knott ends his post with: - "Form is never more than an extension of breakfast. As shown in this poem by Jacques Prévert, trans. by the forgotten poet Selden Rodman:" The translated title of the poem is: LATE RISING Kh00010 *
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."