Friday, November 2, 2007

Mayhew on Creeley

Jonathan Mayhew on Creely HERE

There's an almost painful tension in Mayhew's responses to poetry--in these three brief paragraphs, we see it raw.

The flayed ascetic need for reasoned judgement--an astringent intellectual discipline in the way he reads poems--and here, equally strong, an acknowledgment of how helpless a purely critical language before the reality of the poem itself--the reading experience it opens. Why no critical mode is sufficient to apprehend...or comprehend, everything in the poetic universe.

And he holds that tension. Doesn't let go of either side.

The very definition of critical integrity.


  1. That's a nice response. Thanks for that. I just posted that, played the drums for half an hour, and was randomly checking technorati and found your quite generous comment.

  2. What I look for in criticism is not agreement, or disagreement, or confirmation or contradiction... but a razor slicing through the protuberance of ugly habit.

    Often painful.

    But once you catch your breath, blow away the defensive fog... you know that's exactly what you've been waiting for.

    Until the Creeley post, I was sure about the critical pole--felt the other side, but sharp salt spray made it hard to be certain.

    That, and your posts on Lorca...

    You've won my trust.