Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Well, I don't really know how to respond to those rambles. The title refers to Adorno's comment that lyric poetry was impossible after Auschwitz, a comment I've never really been sure how to respond to. The 'personal' lyric surely seems a little self-indulgent in the context of mass-genocide and, in this case, torture and human rights violations, but frankly what art form really sufficiently responds to anything so brutal and horrifying? One imagines that these events, at least initially, need to be responded to in the most straightforward way possible.

If anything, the capacity of the lyric to increase our ability to connect to human suffering through thinking and feeling shouldn't be over-looked (see Celan).

The prose pieces here strike me as simplistic, cocky, ironic, and just about worthless (not that I support the Americans involved in the mess) -- but seriously, the whole idea behind a dramatic monologue, even when it takes an 'evil' or morally questionable character, is to enter that psychology to explore the complications involved (a little like negative capability, if I understand it correctly). These do nothing of the sort. They're childish, fun-poking, and nearly inappropriate. The only reasonable response to the soldiers' behavior is indignation, which hardly ever makes for a good poem.

I'm curious to know what the rest of you think... this sort of thing essentially engages the question of poetry's (and art's) relationship to political and social realities, sticky terrain well worth an inquiry.


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