Pleasantly snowed-in here for a few days.
I guess people reading my entries about Byzantium, Mandelstam, etc. would have to overcome a sense of obscurity, incoherence, hobbyhorse-ism.
Someday maybe I'll write a My Mandelstam, like Tsvetaeva's My Pushkin or Howe's My Emily Dickinson, & try to render some coherence to it all.
In poetry, I do two main things, I guess. Under certain favorable circumstances, I write poems. Otherwise, I think in "poetics", which is a jumble including my own taste in reading & my response to other writers & traditions (not just an aesthetic response but a personal response, which includes aesthetics, politics, "world-view", a sense of kinship, etc.).
This is how it is for most poets, I figure.
I've probably absorbed as much of the general assumptions of my time & generation as everybody else. Thinking about it off the top of my head this morning, I think I tend to orient myself as part of an era or a century - and an era which is either ending or transmogrifying into something else. This era began around World War I ("the real, not the calendar, 20th century" - Akhmatova), and was characterized by a new kind of self-consciousness, perhaps a sort of apocalyptic thinking, which simultaneously recognizes its alienation from the previous age, and tries to comprehend or interpret or summarize it in a new synthesis, for a new era (ie., Modernism).
In the atmosphere created by the modernist poets & those who followed (up to our own time) I guess I make certain choices & elect certain affinities or models, like everybody else.
to be continued, maybe. . .