Monday, May 17, 2010

My Morning Fevered Ego

The semester wrapped up without me being much worse for wear. As I did last time, I went to an end of the semester dinner party hosted by a colleague and friend. The food, as always, was superb, and the beer flowed, as did the iPod, which, somewhat per my prompting, played a choice selection of the punk rock chestnuts of lore that I lost when CDs swallowed up the cassette and LP. In heavy rotation (thanks, Jeff) were the Misfits, Naked Raygun, The Cramps, Fugazi, Minor Threat, The Buzzcocks… you know, good music. A fine time was had, to be perfectly goddamn sure.

That was Friday. It is now Monday and I woke with some cocky thoughts swimming in the old noggin, some of them inspired by that evening. Here they are for what it’s worth:

I spent a chunk of that party discussing Bolaño, Murakami, Ciaran Carson and Mary Dorsey. I spent a chunk of the party rocking out to old favorite tunes. There’s a nice balance there, and the two elements might seem separate, but to me they are all part of the same love of art. And then I remembered the conversation about contemporary poetry, and how little the others care for it. Not to get on a high horse or anything, but I felt the need to defend my love of the stuff without, you know, getting defensive.

I also remembered how two of my friends talked about the MFA kids who they would occasionally share classes with while in grad school. They spoke a tad contemptuously of those who penned creative works for their classes, which I thought funny at first (they often are jackasses)—though I had to clarify that it was mostly the fiction writers who have such trouble with theory and criticism, not us poetry folk. The theory I presented—and this is far from valid, though it worked that night—was that the average American MFA fiction student is beset by the need to write linear pieces and is somewhat confused when confronted with anything that challenges their notion of straight prose. This was also my way of saying that us poetry majors possess the capacity to process such diverging writing. But, the irony is that the English majors I meet largely dislike poetry, also divergent and challenging. And as falsely cocky as the MFA kids are because, as my friend opined, they create art, the English crowd is perhaps equally cocky because they digest and comment on art, gazing down from the so-called ivory tower. In a sense, both sides are susceptible to the same disease.

So what can I conclude from this? That I am the Übermensch. I like poetry, I like prose. I am comfortable enough with theory. I love it all, bitches! Thrall!

(Not really—god knows there is plenty of literary and theoretical works that elude my understanding, but permit me this one moment of tooting my own horn, as these moments are rare. There. I’ve had my moment. I’ll retreat now back into humility. Kiss kiss.)