Tuesday, March 4, 2014

don't matter, it's all gonna be lost....

don't matter/Ginsberg/ it's all of it/gonna be lost. this line from a poem for Amiri Baraka by Diane Di Prima—I feel as something that marks our time. The absolute end of Romanticism. What in Shakespeare was perhaps a trope of sublime irony, had become a defiant refusal that mortality should have the last word. At least speaking for myself, there's no place for poetic hyperbole of the sort that would mask the transience of, not only our individual lives, but our time as a species on this planet. It lurks there as a question. A provocation. What do we make of this... or more to the point, what do we make of what had been so close to the heart of poets and artists for so many generations? Another stage of mourning beyond the death of God. All of it. One of the most intense moments of my life came several days into the Cuban missile crisis. If you didn’t live through that, it would be inconceivable the sense of absolute end-of-world. I had friends who flew to South America because they believed the radiation that would encircle the northern hemisphere might spare them in the south. I went to a faculty recital—a performance of Bach’s unaccompanied sonatas for violin. The hall was almost empty. This too, will be lost, I thought. All of it. The Greek tragedies, the Sistine Chapel… Bach. All of it will be lost. The trope of mortality in art, of Hazlitt’s ‘Fame’… all of it. We had passed through another portal of human consciousness. I was majoring in art. What then was the point? This may have been one of the things that turned me from painting to pottery. Functional pottery. Handcrafted dinner ware. To enrich our daily lives in the here and now. All of it gonna be lost. The things of the world no less our selves. The trope of creative immortality is as dead as the gods.

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