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Poetry (... and possible betrayal)

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  • Poetry (... and possible betrayal)

    First I am a huge fan of MZD. HOL is (and is going to be) a lifetime favorite of mine. I will probably buy any book MZD writes for the rest of his career. So feel free to "Go For It" Mr. Danielewski.

    However, even though I am just as excited by the concepts in Only Revolutions, I can not help notice that it is an epic poem. And I could not also help notice, with mounting disappointment, that the writer I so enjoy and am moved by is NOT a poet I am moved by.

    I wish I could say why, but not only was I not moved by this poetry, but I felt... unjustifiably INSULTED. It feels similar to when an actor or famous entity decides to become a [painter, singer, etc]. So I'm interested in reactions other people had to MZD's seemingly sudden leap to another art form.

    I am not trying to inhibit or discourage in anyway and I would much rather read this than most things on the bookshelves today. On top of that, I assume that I'm posting in the "Lion's Den" and the response to his new work will be positive here, but I'm curious anyway.

    Did you all respond the same way to Danielewski's poetry as you did to his prose?


  • #2
    My response to of Leaves and my response to were not the same, but I don't think they can be. of Leaves inspired a fear of the , whereas , in me at least, brought forth sensations not completely catagorizable.

    Discounting the hours already spent (and the countless hours ahead) discussing the book's text, layout, decisions on style, or intent, the simple (or, not so simple reading of the novel was a pretty personal and emotional experience.

    Which isn't to say I broke down into tears at the end (I didn't), or feel the kind of fear of Leaves ized me with when THE CREEP showed up (I didn't), but the books general flow disturbed me. Two sixteen-year-olds (the same age I am) simply blurring through history, unaware of the great achievements, great catastrophes, gains, and losses happening around them. Even plot points fly by in sentences.

    Which, I think, brings me to my point.

    You seem to find the language (and style) in which Danielewski wrote to be...unaffecting. You were not moved. On this I completely disagree, as there are points where I find the text infinitely brilliant (for instance, the whole second to last chapter, as heavily sampled on the website) and the others above satisfactory in everyway.

    But even that, I do not think is the entire point of , and the language it is written in. As I alluded to before, the sense of pure speed the novel introduces is dizzying. The book can be read without consciously coming to that conclusion, but either way, 200 years of world history were just traversed in 360 pages of verse.

    It is in this way that, I feel, isn't a let down on any terms. Something close to mastery is exhibited, both directly and indirectly.

    But that's just me.


    • #3

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I'm glad you got so much from OR. It's also interesting to hear the perspective of someone so close to the subjects' age.

      I expect many here will also feel the author's prose and poetry has an equally positive (if varied) quality. To me they are just very different; one I connect to, the other I just don't. (Like apples and applesauce?)


      • #4
        Interesting because I don't really care for poetry so much, yet OR renewed and inspired some interest in it for me.


        • #5
          if you haven't done so already i recommend going to youtube and searching mzdinfo and watch some readings it is incredible to hear him read his words aloud. however you can't beat a good live reading but the videos hopefully will give some perspective at least it did for me.


          • #6
            poco locomotive

            Well that's the best result I think could come from a book like this... I hope others have that same experience.

            myk malice

            I have seen some of the videos on the site of OR, and it just doesn't do it for me. Oh well.

            Still I like the clips from the audio version of the poem, and am kind of looking forward to the completed audio "thing". There hasn't been something like that in a long time and I am a big fan of "augmented" poetry. John Giorno (and his "Poetry Systems") is a favorite.