Saturday, June 12, 2004

reading side/lines (A New Canadian Poetics), ed. by rob mclennan brings forward a question I've long pondered: is there still such thing as a regional writing? perhaps one can argue that all writing remains local, in dialect, in political and ecoconomic concerns etc. etc. but writing surely has become more global with the advent of global economies and the Internet.

a writer may indeed be alone in a small community, physically alone at least, especially if that writer is queer or a minority, but I would argue it is damned difficult to be completely alone if that writer has a computer and access to books and a keening intelligence to seek out works and writers that might become spiritual kindred.

isn't that the point of writing anyhow? to break down barriers of all sorts, to be inclusive rather than divisive? not everyone is the same but each individual is human, with human loves and desires and languages. and these loves, desires and languages collapses time and space. isn't that why we can read the poems of Catullus now as if he were still alive and our contemporary?

writing is forms of processes, and not a finished product, though a poem may be done for its author. in other words, at some point it might not allow its author access and it becomes an autonomous creature, but for the poet a poem is never the poem. if that were the case then there would be fewer poems and more writers doing what Faulkner threatened to do when he thought he had written the perfect work: break the pencil.

and but so reading and writing belong and doesn't belong to space and time, like song, like love. these things are finite and temporal, they occupy space and are outside of it as well. the human voice raised in song exists in time, yes, but indeed lifts the singer and listener outide of it. how else can one explain why we are so moved by a singular piece?

one may actively cultivate a provinciality, Larkin comes to mind, but that is more an affectation of the writer, one that is negative and damaging in the worst possible senses.

for me, some of my spiritual brothers and sisters I've never met except for the mystery of their works. I delight in their many multitudes for it expands what is humanly possible.


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