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What's the Point?

New computer arrived yesterday. Waiting on the monitor today. A nice older G4 tower with 600MB RAM and a 40 Gig hard drive. Apple studio crt monitor coming soon.

Almost settled into the new apartment. it's very quiet here. I love it. Nice view. Window AC in the study room (YES!).

On the Lucipo listserve some questions have arisen about the significance of poetry.

We have boatloads of theory about why x type of poetry matters more then Y type of poetry.

Sometimes I love theory. Sometimes I wonder if poetics is mostly (or all) a justification for pleasure. Even painful pleasure.

Does poetry really affect politics? Can poetry have any impact on "makiing the world a better place?"

I think the questions of consequence should be equally directed at the concept of "critical thinking." I tend to read (and find pleasure) in poetry that uses language as thinking.

Thinking in language rather than thinking through language.

Is everything a text? Can all power struggles be reduced to language games?

Sometimes critical thinking may be an end in itself. Sometimes it may lead to action. To argue that critical thinking iis necessary for action seems false. To argue that poetry is needed for action seems false. Neither are sufficient. Neither are needed for political action.

On my good days, I think poetry really does have consequence beyond personal pleasure. Perhaps the consequences are stealthy (under the radar).

Billy Collins may have no more (or less) political influence/conquence than Rod Smith.

Then again I might be lazy. I may enjoy reading theory because I just want to think the world. In other words, maybe poetry is a safe type of political activism (or none at all).

Maybe I am simply a junkie for new ways of being/seeing/thinking.


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Another Ireland: Part Two
Maurice Scully, The Basic Colours. Durham, UK: Pig Press, 1994.
Geoffrey Squires, Landscapes and Silences. Dublin: New Writers' Press, 1996.
Catherine Walsh, Idir Eatortha and Making Tents. London: Invisible Books, 1996.

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I began the first half of this article (Notre Dame Review #4) by mentioning some of the limits to the legendary hospitality Ireland has shown to its poets. If you arrive in Ireland from any point of departure outside of Eastern Europe, you will indeed find a public far more willing than the one you left behind to grant poets the recognition all but the most ascetic secretly crave. However, this hospitality has never extended to Irish poets w…