FROM A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW:
' In (Robert) Lowell's case, poetry itself appears to have shrunk from the high ground he commandeered: his grand conception of the poet as public figure and public conscience, half classical Roman and half seventeenth-century English, has gained little traction in the present era of notably small and private poems. In a climate of shy minimalism, Lowell's finest work has tended to strike some younger readers as immodest, messianic, out of date.'
As I read the book reviews this morn, I came across this review of a book of letters by the American poet Lowell. The kind of poetry he wrote is described in the italicized sentence; the reviewer¢s reference to a cultural shift interested the hell out of me. Mainly because Lowell went mad occasionally, getting locked away in asylums 14 times in the last third of his life.
During these bouts, he had an uncanny, messianic certainty about everything he wrote. In his more lucid states, the reviewer writes, Lowell was a bit ashamed of his mad self, though he also seemed to romanticize that side of himself --like so many I have heard and read do. There is nothing cool about being crazy, but when you are crazy, you have to rationalize your existence somehow to stave off the razors hovering over our wrists.
(TO DIGRESS.... I knew a ministers son once who was struck with the kind of Mania that is described in this poet. He would see god and be certain of all this crap about being a prophet... but only when he was unmedicated. His dad was something like a Lutheran or some other sect that wasn't fooled by their virus into thinking the kid was a prophet. That could have happened to him... another poet who I read an interview by in the great, late Hyphen Magazine, where I published and read fiction and still can't remember the guys name... was raised to believe that he was a prophet. He lost his faith in one mad rush when he was a teenager, after a girl he liked told him that he was full of shit and he realized that she was right).
Religious Mania isn't called that because the process is sane...
Funny thing too... to digress even more, Someone wrote in and said that I hate Mormons. I can certainly see how that would seem to be the case, but let me assure you, I despise a virus, not the infected. Religion is the Macro, and the micro is Mormonism. My beef is with the macro... I am polite and nice and respectful to people of any religion, in person.... though in the realm of ideas, which is indeed where I at least aspire to be writing from,
I feel I have to be so harsh that the message won't bounce off peoples heads, like all those worthless words we all ignore all day. THAT'S MY STORY AND I AM STICKING TO IT... So what are you going to do????
The shift referred to in the above snip of a review is also of interest to me at least because of how wonderful the writer describes Modernism, and the movements which have followed, which seem post modern to me, though the term is never used in the review.
POST MODERN means.... There is no universal truths that apply all the time every where. Okay, this is woefully inadequate, but for my purposes... I suck, I know, oh, dog, I know..