Monday, April 28, 2008

Brian Fawcett (Part Four)

"The insights I might have gleaned from the slapstick had profound (and for me, permanently relevant) implications: They are, from the specific to the general: 1.) If one is going out into the big world to make the world’s first quadraphonic audio taping of surf, one ought to take some competent technicians along if one doesn’t want to risk a.) catastrophic failure and b.) the destruction of expensive equipment;" --Brian Fawcett.

The fable is a little unclear: writing depends on the knowledge of successful antecedents? (Good.) Or technicians in the way of writing content are not only preferable to, but make laughingly irrelevant, the enthusiasms of "emotional" impetus? (Nonsense.)


"2.) The tides are caused by the moon’s gravity, not by ours;"--Brian Fawcett.

Since this terse edict is the header for the essay, I would assume it has particular import for its author. Let's explore it, then, in some detail.

Don't fight nature. It can be terrifying, dwarfing human pretention, powerful in its indifference to human desire. This is how I translate it in less oblique fashion.

So how does this relate to what he's previously written on modern poetry, his own efforts as well as the relevance and effect of poetry on the reader of today?

And it's here where I have to bring up the common analagous fallacy, hard to recognize if one is impressed with the associative leaps (ala poetic shaping). His long insertion of the "slapstick" failure of recording sound on the beach (left out of quotes here, but available on the link in part one of this on my blog) is supposed to impress upon us the futility of an earnest overreaching of personal, emotional investment in the object of our focus. Of course, in and of itself, this is nonsense. Emotional involvement is the sine qua non of poetry. Without it, it becomes ...... well, an essay. A prose arguement. A logical, detached elevated perusal of the object (or issue, to be more exact). There is nothing wrong with detaching oneself from the object in poetry (if an "object" or person can be said to be the sole focus), but in order for the detachment to have contrasting meaning, there first has to be a concern, a desire-- an attachment (unless you're a "spiritual" writer. But, then, what's the point of writing poetry when everything is in equanimous agreement?). Fawcett sets up a fallacious analagous anecdote, and then strikes at the ghostly strawman. One can write objective and subjective poetry (realizing that there's a large measure of subjectivity in all of it).


"3.)Don’t run in the surf if you’re not prepared to get wet;"-- Brian Fawcett.

Don't publish poetry if you're afraid of being that masturbator on the busy street corner whom no one notices.


"4.) Don’t be stargazing unless you’re in a warm, dry location;" --Brian Fawcett.

Don't show emotion and idealism unless you're prepared for turmoil and suffering.

Can one get any more patronizing?


"5.) There is more safety in foresight and planning than in trusting to technology."--Brian Fawcett.

And how does this relate to poetic composition? There is more effort, planning, reworking, and technical knowhow and employment in the creation of a good (lyric) poem than there is in the essayistic obtuseness of what passes for "important" thematic salvos and ponderous pulpit-pounding.

Part Five to follow ....

1 comment:

Brian said...

When you're trying to record surf with expensive equipment, it's a good idea to pay attention to your surroundings. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, Palmu. Geez...