Interesting post at Samizdat Blog

Robert Archambeau over at Samizdat Blog has an interesting post that might be relevant to our discussions.


Joseph Duemer said...

Just read that. In terms of the sociology of the intellectual / artistic scent it strikes me as right on the mark. Sub-optimal centrality is indeed a sad location, but I don't think it is always the fault of the individual writer / intellectual as Archambeau implies. Well, it is sometimes a position into which a writer has worked himself, but one can also wind up there for other reasons. I'm thinking of Hayden Carruth, who, while he had some connection to the center and respect from central figures, put himself at the margin for reasons of mental health, etc. His power was thus much diminished. Maybe Archembeau would call that suboptimal marginality, but that doesn't quite seem right either. In any case, I'm glad to have this set of coordinates.

Henry Gould said...

Reminded me of an op-ed piece in NY Times recently by David Brooks, on the value of institutions, institutional loyalty, vs. the scepticism (of the last 50 yrs - since Vietnam War & before) about conformity & "organization man".

(Not saying Brooks & Archambeau were making similar arguments. Brooks seems to be a classic Burkean conservative, yet with a sense of unease, & searching for solutions.)

But what is the "institution" of poetry? Obviously many people believe there is one. I think of it more as an organic entity - a kind of strange "mana" that gets passed on from generation to generation of poets who connect very profoundly with their forebears. Institutions, & societies as a whole, try to make some sense of that masonic tribe, usually with only partial success. Place- and job-seekers come up empty-handed. (In that respect, poetry is Hermes - quicksilver, & dangerous.)

Henry Gould said...

You've really got me interested now in Hayden Carruth, Joseph. Have to go find some of his books.

Joseph Duemer said...

It would be amusing & maybe a little enlightening to try to chart some of the poets we admire on Archembeau's marginality index.