Sensing the contrast in stance & method between Skidan & myself... wonder what listeners in audience last night made of that, if anything.
My older-fellow, genial, maybe complacent "be of good cheer" attitude. A poetics obsessed with pleroma, fulfillment, the poetry as sufficient unto the day and unto itself, the poem as an adequate response to experience, reality.... my cerebral Hart-Cranian vowel-sounding... the voracious hunger for completion, wholeness, unity, affirmation in danger (paradoxically) of draining the drama out of poetry...
In contrast to the younger-man Skidan's poetry of angst, pain & struggle. Literature's absurdity, its wrongness, its in-adequacy... by which & in which it reflects actuality (of suffering, violence, stupidity, futility & struggle) perhaps more accurately... interesting how (in talking to him over the weekend) TS Eliot was major influence. Eliot, the anti-Crane.
This irresolvable binary, an oscillation. Poetry that remains above or unmoved by suffering & experience is really cold & dead, mummified. But then, the poem itself always has the last word.... the subtle poison of long-livingness. We aim to please... and if you don't find pleasure in the poem itself, what's the point? The question is, is it really alive, or just cryogenically maintained (in the library...)
Of course another factor in all this (with respect to me, anyway) is the messianic, Holy-Roller element. I say "be of good cheer" in a metaphysical, maybe apocalyptic sense. & that utopian fire really is in all these Russians, including Skidan - even as it's deflected through hopeless phase shifters. Russians, maybe especially Petersburgers, are very prone to the messianic/apocalyptic mentality. Another thing that links me with the Russians (beside Minnesota birch trees). I'm something of an (enervated, tired) yurodivy (holy fool).