Dianna wrote:
D> I'm surprised you haven't heard of Screw Magazine.

I did not say I never heard of Screw Magazine (Nancy did). I've read some issues over the years, but I grew tired of Mr. Goldstein's brand of humor a long time ago. Same thing for Howard Stern, whom I used to listen to but whom I no longer find funny.

D> Pillsbury sued him for an obscene depiction
D> of their Dough Boy, and lost. . .
D> I chose it for my analogy because Goldstein has always asserted
D> that the sexual images he publishes
D> have no other meaning but sexuality. . .

As I said, illness precludes me right now from going into a long discussion of Prufrock, but I would _not_ say it has "no other meaning but sexuality", as your analogy with Screw suggests. That characterization reduces my years of thinking about the poem to an obscene Pillsbury Dough Boy cartoon.

D> If simply mentioning the name of this venerable dinosaur
D> makes you blush, I suggest you never look inside a copy!!

The name of the magazine does _not_ make me blush. My point was that this is not how I think robust poetry discussion should work.

Look: The Eliot list-founders at Missouri decided years ago that the Eliot list would be self-policing. No moderator, no pre-approval of posts. I agree with their decision.

What that means to me as a poster is that I've got to think how my words will affect the person I'm talking to and also how my words will affect the discussion on the entire list. Most poetry lovers that I've met have _no_ problem getting into heated debates about their ideas, and, in fact, enjoy the back-and-forth that can only come from directly interacting with other poetry lovers (as opposed to publishing an article in a journal where you can’t see the interaction with the readers).
 
It's not that I expect any person's ideas (certainly not my own) to go unquestioned. It's that I expect to have the ideas discussed without making the poster feel small, or feel stupid, or feel embarrassed, or feel that their years of thought are being reduced and dismissed as cartoonish. It may take re-writing a reply a few times to achieve this (which I've done before sending many past posts), but I think it's worth the effort.

Regards,

-- Tom --
 

Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 15:14:49 +0000
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Prufrock question (Eliot interview citation)
To: [log in to unmask]

Dear Tom,
 
I'm surprised you haven't heard of Screw Magazine. Al Goldstein, its founder, has won many landmark cases against censorship. Pillsbury sued him for an obscene depiction of their Dough Boy, and lost. Now corporate logos are no longer sacred icons that cannot be changed for satirical purposes.
 
I chose it for my analogy because Goldstein has always asserted that the sexual images he publishes have no other meaning but sexuality; he distanced his publication from those like Playboy that trade in airbrushed fantasy.
 
From Wikipedia:
 
"In almost forty years of continuous publication, there have been almost 2,000 issues of Screw, making it one of the most durable and long-lasting publications in American history."
 
If simply mentioning the name of this venerable dinosaur makes you blush, I suggest you never look inside a copy!!
 
Cheers,
 
Diana
 

Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 22:47:27 -0500
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Prufrock question (Eliot interview citation)
To: [log in to unmask]

Diana wrote:
D> Tom,
D> Why do you characterize "a love song" as "a poem about sexuality?"
D> You make it sound like Screw magazine.
D>
D> And what in the text leads you to the conclusion that the speaker is
D> conscious of his homosexual impulses? I'm not saying it's not a valid interpretation,
D> I would just like to see what it's based on.
D>
D> Lonely men in shirtsleeves leaning out of windows could be widows,
D> drunks who's wives and girlfriends turned them out, or men many other
D> situations including homosexuality. Likewise, happy men surrounded by friends
D> could also be homosexuals!
 
Diana:

I need to make two totally unrelated points here.

Firstly, as I mentioned to Nancy, I'm recovering from a fairly serious illness right now. I will be happy to briefly put together my arguments about a homosexual reading of Prufrock and why I think the text supports this throughout the poem. You've already seen bits and pieces of my reading, but it might be more useful to see it all in one place. I'll try to get this done before the end of February, but I am not up to it just now.

Unrelated to that, I'd like to make another point. I find it very odd that list members use (what is to my ears) language that exposes other listers to unnecessary embarrassment for a choice of words or a particular expression of an idea. When I said that Eliot's "love song" is a poem about sexuality, is it really fair to reply that "You make it sound like Screw magazine"? Maybe it's a generational thing, as I am in my mid-50s and I think from your past posts about what you are working on that you are decades younger. I just can't imagine saying something that like to someone in the middle of a poetry discussion. I was embarrassed by the remark, and I imagine it has a chilling effect on others thinking of sharing their ideas on the list.

Anyway, as I said, I will try to write up a brief Prufrock post as soon as I'm able.

-- Tom --


 

Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 15:26:01 +0000
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Prufrock question (Eliot interview citation)
To: [log in to unmask]

Tom,
 
Why do you characterize "a love song" as "a poem about sexuality?" You make it sound like Screw magazine.
 
And what in the text leads you to the conclusion that the speaker is conscious of his homosexual impulses? I'm not saying it's not a valid interpretation, I would just like to see what it's based on.
 
Lonely men in shirtsleeves leaning out of windows could be widows, drunks who's wives and girlfriends turned them out, or men many other situations including homosexuality. Likewise, happy men surrounded by friends could also be homosexuals!
 
Diana
 
 
> The Listers, I hope, would have no such misgivings about "old men in shirt sleeves" if they perused my reading of the poem at
>
> http://books.google.com/books?id=GPZHywxqWoAC&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq#v=onepage&q=&f=false
>
> It might dispel many another misgiving, hopefully.
>
> Regards,
> CR
>
>
>
> --- On Mon, 2/8/10, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
> > Nancy wrote:
> > N> I am now wondering about the function of the
> > epigraph. . .
> >
> > N> Does the choice of the circle of fraud reveal or
> > evoke something about Prufrock?
> >  
> >
> > I know my Prufrock readings have not gotten much traction
> > on this list, but let me give you a reply for your
> > consideration. //In a poem about sexuality (a "love
> > song"), the epigraph may hint that Prufrock considers
> > himself to be a "sexual fraud", in that he has
> > homoerotic desires even as he journeys "among the
> > women". Remember those "lonely men in shirt
> > sleeves, leaning out of windows".//
> >
> >  
> >
> > -- Tom --
>
> >
> > Date: Sun, 7 Feb 2010 23:06:57 -0500
> > From: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: Prufrock question (Eliot interview citation)
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> >
> >
> > I am now wondering about the function of the
> > epigraph.  I have long assumed I had figured out a
> > reason for it in the need to somehow articulate the meaning
> > of being in Hell (note also the two Lazarus stories, making
> > three characters who died and could have revealed the
> > afterworld but could not or did not).  Eliot's
> > epigraphs do not simply chunk another story down in a poem
> > whole: they may evoke mood or topic or emotion rather
> > than story.  But I am wondering now if the issue of
> > treachery or fraud is relevant also.  I had not
> > before focussed on the fact that Guido is in that
> > circle or that he wants both to conceal and reveal his
> > own sin--and cleverness. 
> >  
> > Does the choice of the circle of fraud reveal or evoke
> > something about Prufrock?
> > N 
>
>
>
>



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