& speaking of valentines & all that, it might be very good for me to write, for myself at least, some kind of account or analysis of the themes, aspects in my poetry, relating to love, gender, sexuality, & such like complexities.
So much of my poetry is "love poetry", more or less - I mean it is prompted (& structured) by some real or imagined feminine person or presence or quality. "Gendered." (the Beatrice Effect)
& I'm sure it would be possible to analyze all this as very, very, confused. Even the analysis would get confused.
If one tends to believe, as I do, that the (poetic) imagination is involved in creative cosmogony or theogony - I mean a sort of (relatively) ex nihilo world-shaping, starting everything over - one gets involved in challenging or revising traditional (often patriarchal or authoritarian) symbols or mythologies of such cosmogenesis.
& if this ambivalent impulse - I mean simultaneously to maintain & to challenge certain conceptualizations of reality & belief - gets fused with a romantic or emotional alignment of poetry & love - then feminism & cosmology & poetry (the "muse") become sort of indistinguishable...
& if, moreover, these impulses are aligned also with certain subconscious or psychological motivations (ie. childhood, Mom, the equilibrium & bouyancy of the body/ship in the womb) - a sort of Bachelardian emphasis - these trajectories are amplified even more.
The trouble with all this, I think - & with the neo-mythologizing of personal psychology (Jung, & Freud too) - is that it leaves both poetry and philosophy at a certain state of formation which, while very important - & maybe essential (especially for poets like me) - still leaves huge dimensions of discourse out of the picture.
What I'm referring to, I guess, is what you could call the "gender neutral" or universal aspects of social experience, morality, & justice. This gets complicated, because it seems to require holding two sometimes contrary aspects in balance at the same time. First of all, society as we know it, to varying degrees around the world, is certainly warped by gender inequalities and the oppression of women. But there are other, equally pervasive facets of global violence, injustice & disorder. & it seems that the path to sane and happy social life on earth involves pragmatic, common sense action - political, scientific, social - where gender equality is both insisted upon and taken for granted (so that the focus can be on the specific practical problem at hand). (This is not to suggest that gender equality and gender identity - or indistinguishability - are the same thing... although that, too, is part of the equation... All poets, I suppose, are androgynous in some way or another.)
I'm guess my cogitations are quite primitive & simplistic. But I'm thinking specifically about the sphere in which social issues become material for poetry. & what I'm thinking is that the cosmogonic-mythologic "feminism" represented in a lot of poetry - and a lot of my own poetry - can sometimes (not always) hobble its capacity to address public, civic issues & social phenomena in a certain ordinary, objective way. It's like being trapped in some Jungian, personal psychodrama; like some character in the Divina Commedia, unable to climb above a certain level & see things more clearly, & address them more impersonally.
What I'm trying to say, I think, is that there are vast regions of human activity and social action - and many dimensions of ethics and justice - wherein men & women can, and do, work (& play) together, without gender coming into it at all (except perhaps in fun). & poetry likewise should be capable of addressing these conditions & occasions in a witty, direct, impersonal & gender-neutral (or simply "gender-comic"!) manner.
All that being said, I'm sure I will continue to follow the very obscure, oblique & mysterious (& mysteriously feminine) impulses from which my poetry emerges. What would life be without sex? Vive la differance, & all that...
& I do think that the utopian or apocalyptic drive underlying religion & human history is powerfully, substantially "feminine" in ways we tend to elide or misunderstand. This is partly what aligned my own direction toward Crane & Joyce as opposed (at least on the surface) to Eliot's & Pound's seemingly more patriarchal attitudes. The happy dreams of Noah's Ark, or the spacy moon-ship of Jubilee, really are impelled, in some obscure subconscious way, by the affective womb-life & infancy of mother-&-child. Humanity - in taming & "civilizing" (& also endangering & ruining) the earth - is motivated by these profound & early impulses - the buoyancy effect, an infant equilibrium.