Jordan feeling feisty this morning.

I have the best of both worlds: make real arguments, experience eerie silence.

I see different critical talents, here & there in blogworld. Ability to characterize with precision & understanding, sometimes. Articulate. Not so partisan, clubbish; not so ready to spray cliches & beery nostrums from the political Bladder. Readers with real ears.

This split between mainstream & oppositional bugs me. Too many abstract counters, categories, pigeonholes. Seems to short-circuit synthetic energies necessary for solid critical perception; thus it stymies reception to some extent. Why not just fageddabaddit, & read the things on their own terms, & respond to them on your own terms, personally, as if you picked them up in a 2nd-hand bkstore in Tashkent.

So I create this imaginary St. Petersburg, where Gumilev & Akhmatova & Mandelstam & Tsvetaeva & Pasternak discover how to make past poetries their own (individual craft); speak about their traditions (education); engage in polemics while recognizing talent in the other's camp (culture). Russian ark.

& I can empathize with Mandelstam's notion that we write for an imaginary interlocutor from the future. (In fact I must say I sometimes I feel like a figment of his imagination in that sense.) Have I reduced a great Russian poet to the status of a reverse image of my own "professional" nonentity, by removing him from his proper context (his contemporary Russian audience)? So that he serves as sort of an icon/imaginary friend on the mantle for Everyman-Nobodypoet? That's part of it, I suppose. My context is this small city in Rhode Island, where I live & screw up & leave behind a sort of hodge-podge of inscriptions stored in the John Hay Library archives. When I'm underground over there in the 132 acres of North Main Cemetery, my poems will assume a different tincture, as the paper dries & the ink fades.

I want to write more topical report poems, up-to-the-minute Audenesque, & have them published in the New Yorker & in the paper of record in St. Petersburg, Florida.

& of course I could always read more poetry myself. . .

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