Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.

★★ The Latest Posts on Hatter's Adversaria
The Rational and SpiritualitySomething I Read #21 – C.K. Stead
Something I Read #20 – Carl JungSomething I Read #19 – Carl Jung

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

But You Don't Have to Call Me Johnson

taking a run at the words poetry, poem, and poet


This is a post I have wanted to write out for a couple of months now, with my increasing use of the words poet and poem and poetry in these posts (and in discussions elsewhere). I always feel as though I am betraying this blog when I use them without the readers understanding something of my use of those words. So, to that end . . . .

A good long while ago I came to recognize that the word "art" had little functional value -- especially as I was using it at the time, within my own speaking about the aesthetic. The problem is that the use of the term "art" brings into the discussion a multitude of "art" obects that have nothing to do with the aesthetic. (Indeed, an ocean of such in comparison to the small lake of the engagements with the aesthetic.) How could I talk about Picasso's Guitar and Violin

as "art" or even "high art" if use of the word meant bringing into the conversation something as unengaging as this

(Daisies #2 by Alex Katz, )

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Academe Quits Me" by D.G. Myers

A post from the blog "A Commonplace Blog."

The primary post is here

There is a follow-up, "Replies to the Critics of 'Academe Quits Me,'" here.

(They are currently the first two posts in the blog, but over time they may no longer be, so I linked directly.)


when you no longer care about literature, it's hard to show you care about literature


A morning after consideration:

A couple comments by my friends on FB (comments on the Myers blog, not this post) showed me that most people will read "Academe Quits Me" as being about the situation of the job market, whereas I read it more toward the status of the idea of "literary studies" in US academia. Indeed, most of the comments I saw to the post were about the economic marketplace. But the two are not unconnected. One of the failures of English departments these decades is that they have tried to stake their importance on political situating, when they should be staking their importance on (1) literary-cultural appreciation, and (2) the fundamental recognition that reading is not wholly a subject of literature. To learn to read deeply is a skill that carries to success in every department, and English departments should be running tendrils through the whole of university saying "we can teach your students to be better students, better graduates, more successful in their fields, irrespective of that field of study."

But when social criticism has a stake in avoiding deep reading (because, usually, deep reading rather undermines their claims as regards literature), when MFA departments are afraid of what deep reading might do to their not-quite-so-talented and easily-ego-bruised student pool, there is a whole lot of "we don't want to go there" going on. You want to see a prof teaching social criticism blow up? Bring in someone capable of deep reading both the subject texts and the writings of the social critic. Like a cornered cat. It is hilarious how quickly their "scholarship" moves from pounding the scholarship to pounding the table.

So, let me give a qualifying statement to what is below. I did not yesterday, nor today intend Myers's post to be read as evidence or damning moment or anything substantial beyond a means to posit an idea in your head for to be thought about. There is something to be said for a required core knowledge, and there is something to be said for the idea that a field that eschews core knowledge is rather signing their own death warrant. Put it in your head and ponder it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Slight Pause" by Joy Katz -- Verse Daily, 1/5/2014

from All You Do Is Perceive (Four Way Books)
poem found here

first lines:
We looked at each other, then at the plate of tomatoes,
and you said, do we eat them?


appreciation; alternatively, forcing the poem for an easy audience


It has been a while, so we might as well first take the moment to state once again how Verse Daily's people are demonstrably idiots. Let us count the ways: "Fallen over in, her front hall"; "us green. tomatoes"; "e night of the hanging." Incompetent, disrespectful gits. That's all I'm going to say (until the next time).


Yes, again, I admit, this post has been sitting unfinished in the WordPad file cabinet for some time. I am guilty of having been very unattentive to my smaller projects. But, as I said before, December is never a good month for me.

The negative of letting a piece sit half-started for too long is my head gets filled with too many different directions with which to take it. (An ailment cured in my last post by limiting myself to but one.) Hopefully this won't get away from me. Where I want to start is with a comment made to an earlier post (looking at the poem "Bethany Man" by Ricardo Pao-Llosa, here). That comment:

I think it is a lovely poem. You unfortunately will never be able to appreciate anything in your life with this attitude.

Comments like this perplex me a touch. More so, they irritate me.

This is the simple question: how can you be appreciative of something unless you have the ability also to be critical of that very same thing?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Confession" by Carrie Shipers (Verse Daily, 11/25/13), and "When Fruit and Flowers Hung Thick Falling" by Katie Peterson (Poetry Daily, 11/24/13)

"Confession" from Southern Review (Winter 2013)
poem found here

first lines:
I stopped calling for no reason because
you didn't always seem glad to hear from me.


"When Fruit and Flowers Hung Thick Falling" from The Accounts (U Chicago Press)
poem found here

first lines:
Never a gardener, she
became interested


the very important importance of lines


These two poems appeared on successive days at the end of November, and I started writing a long post on the day following. Unfortunately, between spending most of December fighting one illness or another and the chaos of the holidays (and I will be honest, I despise the time of year between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve), it pretty much sat on the burner: for so long, now, that I've mostly lost the energies behind the post.

Except for one point, which I have held on to and now finally sit down to write out.

These two poems are interesting in that they are both versions of a style of poem that you see not infrequently in poppoetry circles. (I should really start collecting and naming these pop-sub-genres . . . .) They are poems that are (1) built upon a list of statements (2) usually with an ironic and/or humorous bend, both in solo and in tandem; that (3) are intended to be read as lists of more-or-less equal elements; and (4) which have a concluding statement which serves to define the poem. That is a rather general (perhaps even inadequate) description of the sub-genre, and both of these poems vary from it in one way or another: though, not enough that they are not obviously trying to fit within this mold (or, perhaps I should say, "work out of" this mold?)

Originally I was going to parse the two poems primarily as regards the sub-genre, and work a little comparison and contrast to show how they are, in fact, quite generic, pop poems, but from that show the strengths and the weaknesses of each (and they do play well off each other in that the strengths of one tend to be the weaknesses of the other). In this abbreviated post, however, I will narrow myself to one item alone: lines.