June 17, 2004 by AK


Some of English Poetry’s Ten Dirtiest Secrets are secrets of poetry in any language. Says Aaron,

Reputation bloat is directly proportional to the fodder the poet supplies for doctoral theses. “Philosophical” poets are especially prized.

My general rule is to pick un-philosophical pieces by philosophizers, and sane poems by the insane. They stand a fat chance of being good. What’s encouraging is that there are poets who both write well and supply the said fodder in abundance. Among modern Russians, that’d be Elena Shvarts for sure. “De-Stalinizing gender,” “a psychocritical view of the poetry of Elena Shvarts,” and even “the vigorous transfigurational capacity of Shvarts’s poetry from the point of view of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s theory of de- and re-territorialization” should not discourage anyone from taking a look at the actual poems these titles purport to refer to.

I suspect these hagiographies might be just a bit more helpful than Qu’est-ce que la philosophie ? to understand the poem I am trying to translate now.

More later (hope so).


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