Thursday, June 05, 2008

ryan daley on [anti] failure in poetry .

i hear what ryan's saying and it is provocative. too distracted at the moment to comment at length but by and large i agree with ryan. that we all fail in poetry, hopefully, what matters is how well we fail. what about poems, is a bad poem a failure? the value systems we adhere in almost every walk of life, e.g. if it is expensive it must be excellent, if there be a celebrity he/she must be a great person, are a few nominative valuations, i think work against the favorable idea of the necessity of failing at any art, including the arts of living. i recall watching seamus heaney interviewed on tv after winning the nobel prize. asked if heaney had any regrets or wished he'd done something different in his life and/or writing heaney said that that is akin to being a parent. there is no guide book which we could follow step by step to raise children successfully. heaney named his children then said with a laugh, no mistakes made there!

perhaps we as writers/readers should lose the idea of failure, since perfection is an illusion, and writing is the deep pleasurable struggle of living in our worlds. and it is a struggle, it is difficult, and it is pursued with the deepest of pleasure. poetry, hopefully, becomes the life, not unnecessarily obsessional struggles, tho it is indeed that, but devotional as well. the life of poetry is a life of working, paying bills, getting high, loving and hating, dirty diapers, late nights. in other words life is never lived by decree or plan but by incremental phases in which we learn as we go. life and poetry are acts in failing because both are messy, and so far i've yet to meet the one that has indeed got the perfection of the life and the work. yeats was right that that is an illusion, but he was wrong in that we don't have to choose between the life and the work. they are, i hope, jagged parts of the same whole. perfection is unattainable. only failure is.


At 12:41 AM, Blogger Clifford Duffy said...

pah! failure's fer judges

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

and classrooms. And I think that's the point I'm trying to make. I think failure is incorporated, or equated at least, with our ideas of how good something is. This seems wrong. So long as I continue to write, that is good. But my writing might not be that "successful"...

But does it matter? I mean, after all, I didn't get into poetry for the money, did I?


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