First, this is not about me except to the extent that some members have
repeatedly sneered at me rather than what I say. They do it to others
as well, so I would prefer to be left out of it as an individual.
Second, this is a discussion list; no, we can't leave anything "at
that." It defeats whatever purpose there is in having discussions. If
we are only announcing to each other what we like, the list has ceased
to exist as a forum anyway.
I did not snipe at you, and I certainly did not indulge in derision. IF
I HAD, I would say I'm sorry, but I never did. I responded to what you
said. That is not in any sense about you as a person. I have never
said a word about you as a person, I don't even know you, and I have no
reason to make such remarks as, say, Peter constantly does about who is
open or who is not, etc. To disagree with your insight is not to demean
it; it is to disagree with it. I would think that truly demeaning a
view would be to consider it not worth answering. To engage in a debate
on a topic is to respect it. And I don't know where the line about
freshman theme came up: I never used those words.
But I have no responsibility--personal, intellectual, or social--to
agree with or affirm any view expressed here. The claim that this is
not about writing a critical article seems to be a definition you have
asserted along with a claim that the function of the list is apparently
to express feelings and never debate. That is not what I joined it for
and not what it once was and not what a list about a writer can be
limited to. It is about what people want to discuss. It is a forum. I
don't think anyone gets to define it in exclusive ways. My objection is
to ad hominem and ad feminem statements. I certainly can't preclude
them, but I have decided to object to them openly.
I also did not say or intend to say that scholars write poems, only that
scholars of poetry love them. It is equally true that poets may not be
able to write criticism.
But on the issue of whether statements are true or not, I see no
possible value or even acceptable reason for being "open" as if
falsehood and truth are equal. So my objection to wikipedia remains
because it has many untrue statements. Liking it is not an answer to
that objection, and in a forum anyone may object.
Nancy, some of us like Wikipedia, some of us do not. Can't we leave it
And you are as guilty as any of sniping; when I observed that Eliot's
narrators over various poems developed faith through painful conflict
you demeaned an insight that was new to me as an idea worthy only of a
freshman theme. I was not writing a theme, I was sharing my appreciation
for the dynamism of Eliot's work, his development of his narrator's
character, because a poem I am writing improved from that insight. I was
not submitting a proposal for a critical article.
My simple exclamation of delight at discovering how to develop a
narrator's crisis and resolution through Eliot's example was met with
scholarly dirision, Scholars' interpretations are necessarily backed up
with citations, references, etc. while an artist will take use an
insight for making new art of his or her own, with perhaps no reference
to the other artist from whom he or she got the idea.
Working artists do not need to back up their interpretation of another
artist if they are just stealing something from him. On this list, every
email is gone over as if it were a paper to be graded. Some of us are
not Eliot scholars, we are poets trying to make art, not write books
about Eliot. Artists learn technique and craft from the masters, a quite
different undertaking, probably using a different part of the brain from
that used in intellectual analysis. A scholar may appreciate and
describe every nuance of a great artist's style, but that will not
result in the scholar being able to write a fine poem. A great scholar
of poetry may write a fine poem, but not necessarily. I think of Clement
Greenberg, for example, a great twentieth-century art critic, who
produced no fine art of his own.
Probably we are all guilty of intolerance to a certain extent. Patience
with each other could only improve the atmosphere in the list. I greatly
value your contributions and I'm surely not alone in that. Why not do
what I do? Have a good sulk, refuse to participate in the list, and then
come back again. Diana
>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 05/27/07 12:04 PM >>>