Want to get back to poetry... lots of commitments & distractions lately.

Thin scattered thoughts on politics & religion etc. are not enough, irritating.

I know I'm out on a limb - that is, far from the current acceptable climate of opinion among the literary intelligentsia.

Reading interesting book by John MacKay - Inscription and Modernity. Wordsworth, Clare, Baudelaire, & a bunch of Russians (Khlebnikov, Kluiev, Mandelstam especially). From an historicizing left-materialist-Marxist perspective (Barrett Watten is one among many names in the acknowledgements). Interesting to see Mandelstam's Acmeism and "domestic hellenism" taken seriously from this perspective.

I know that in my occasional informal attempts to align or echo Acmeism/Futurism with "me"/post-avant-langpo, I have oversimplified Mandelstam. Also, much of the OM criticism over the decades has emphasized his victimhood, as part of an anti-Soviet polemic. MacKay, on the other hand, looks at Acmeism as not at all nostalgic/reactionary, but as a secularizing, materialist-humanist vision; and MacKay's interpretation of M's deep interest in language and "the Word as such" takes on an almost proto-"language poetry" cast. It would be interesting to contrast this viewpoint with that of Elena Corrigan (Mandelshtam's Poetics). M's critical writing is rich and complex, & can sustain opposing perspectives; there are passages which contradict MacKay's general position ("the Word is Psyche"; the "double strand" of the "verbal material" and the "poetic impulse"; etc.)

In general, MacKay's close readings seem to me both politically tendentious (based on several familiar socio-historical assumptions of left "critique") and very sensitive & discerning. His analysis of Mandelstam's concept of the perpetual renewal and invigoration of ancient poetic language is probing and evocative : inspiring, actually.

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