How an anthology titled Poets on Poets begins
To judge of poets is only the faculty of poets; and not of all poets, but the best.
This gets at a problem with Laruelle’s “servant nomad” idea for reforming the disciplines. “Excuse me? Who are you to tell ME about MY discipline?”
Sweet summer child, you think philosophers haven’t already thought of a thousand responses to that rhetorical question?
For now though I’m interested in seeing what the poets have to say about their own craft.
Those who have been brought up on the writings of modern literary critics are likely to find a number of features of the poets’ responses to their art strange and offputting.
This timelessness as a death of god elixir
They see themselves as godlike in being creators, creator-gods.
Contrast this with the way Hölderlin is described in my previous post, as a poet who is an intermediary between god and human. In a sense, an intermediary is godlike themselves.
Something special about this rare Type
Wordsworth, it was said, ‘new-created all he saw’
Partaking in Genesis.
Is it that they are intermediaries or that they are the god?
To create as a god, a poet needs powers which are not normally afforded to mortals… from the intervention in human affairs of some power that seems more-than-human
I do think of the notion of a “CRISPR’d vessel” in this context.
This is supernatural, they say as much themselves
The poets believe that, when inspired by the Muse, they have the power to defy the normal laws of Nature
Plato’s Laws are poetry too. He was trying to play the Zeus of the poetic pantheon. Jesus Christ ended up doing that. Now Equalism is there.
delighting to contemplate similar volitions and passions as manifested in the goings-on of the universe, and habitually impelled to create them where he does not find them
Giving the game away!
And then when you tell our “poets of the political” this they will transfigure it back somehow into the imaginary. “No, we don’t find it there, glad you said that, because we will now!” Imposing beautified images on the harsh reality. When you wake up one day and the US is Mexico I think you’re going to regret that.
They think of themselves as gods eh? That’s why there’s been this ancient quarrel as they call it, because they don’t like to be questioned about the truth or goodness of their creations. I can think of a few who are pretty beyond reproach. If you could say that philosophers over-focus on truth, the same could be said about poets and beauty – that’s ranked first for them, and it’s at the expense of truth and the good. Naaaah you’re perfect, don’t worry about it. The status quo is much closer to being constituted by poets than philosophers. There’s a connection with lethargy- it’s relaxing to uphold beauty above all. And this criticism of course can also be leveled against theology as well. I know of some people who could be said to have a realistic relation to theology though, where it doesn’t make life easier whatsoever, it’s a strict force of discipline and harrowing uprightness.
Anyway, zooming out as I like to do, I see this here as a religious activity, it’s Sunday after all. This is a modern way to practice religion- contemplating not only theology. Philosophy, poetry, theology, all these are in the mix. If I was more of a scientist I’d probably discuss that more too – another view of knowledge that is of similar importance to these others. This isn’t new in history, it’s just more mainstream now, and more accessible due to technological progress. Many are still “atheists” in this regard despite that accessibility. It’s not enough to say that most remain on a surface of beauty, it’s that it’s an ugly kind of beauty. They’re not on the level of appreciating poetry, let alone all these disciplines together, and they could be if they wanted. And that’s the ugly truth.