Sunday, October 21, 2007

Returning to Poetry

Just back from a brief family sojourn to the Outer Banks (or OBX as all the bumper stickers read). We took advantage of an elementary school "professional day" off to enjoy three days of wind, sea, kites, and hikes across sand dunes ... what could be better?

Well, one thing: returning to find that Dan Remein has composed a poem that takes as one of its points of departure an ITM post I composed in the summer, "Who mourns for Lindow Man?" Dan's piece even acknowledges my daughter, the spur for the post. How cool is that? See Dan's own post "dedicating poems to the children of people i have never met." Dan, I hope we do meet some day.

In other poetry news, Lytton Smith is publishing an eight page poem series that recasts, adapts, and spins away from an ancient essay of mine, "Monster Culture (Seven Theses)." The sequence will be published as part of a chapbook next February. Perhaps in the near future Lytton will allow an excerpt to premiere here. Lytton?

I care about my work scholarly enough that I find it gratifying to have someone, anyone, find something useful in it. Scholars create, and many scholars are poets; my co-bloggers prove that. Yet to have a poet create something new out of a blog post or an old essay makes me especially happy.

2 comments:

Lytton Smith said...

Thanks for the mention, JJC! I'd certainly be happy for an excerpt from "Monster Theory" to appear on ITM - it'd be very exciting.

Seems to me there's too great a divide, at times, between the critical and the creative, between the poetry written today and the criticism written today, which is a shame. I think that's part of where my interest in working with your essay came from (plus how could I resist, as a poet, phrases such as "inter the corpse where the road forks, so that when it springs from the grave, it will not know which path to follow"? I love the rhythm there, and how important the consonants are to what's happening actively.)

As a side note, though, at Columbia University's recent Medieval Guild conference, a PhD student at Berkeley, Julian Brolaksi, gave a conference paper in verse and prose (on ambiguously gendered medieval pronouns). Part of the point was that poetry can do the work of criticism effectively, and the paper worked very well, to my mind.

Dan - great to see your poem working with JJC's thoughts. Wish I could have heard it read!

dan remein said...

Lytton, I posted a response to this up with your poem. Thanks.

I also finding thinking about _Med. ID MAchines_ quite helpful in kickstarting writing. it is a good book to critically engage with in verse--you can get into conversation with JJ Cohen, and Chrestiens all at the same time!