Sunday, August 07, 2005
How do we all feel about Walt Whitman writing reviews of Leaves of
Grass under various pseudonyms? Is it unethical to write glowing
reviews for yourself? What are your feelings? Is it a big deal to you
that Whitman wrote these reviews? Or do you maybe see it like I do,
that he was simply saying, "Hey, I'm pretty damn good, check me out!"?
i'd like to point out another, perhaps, dimension that hasn't been
touched upon. it is possible that whitman was writing what raymond
federman coined critifiction well before the first wave of postmodern
writers (barthes, sukenick, katz, federman, etcetera)--after all,
whitman is created with many pioneering formal inventions. in terms of
this being morally reprehensible, absolutely not. especially as it is
(at least was) very fashionable to think that it can never be "I"
writing anyway. does it not make more sense to consider the entirety
of a artists output instead of isolating every little piece? add it to
whitman's work, consider it an odd off-shoot, figure out how to insert
it and then investigate with all the critical resources you can
to address conrad's point, you better like what you wrote!
to address conrad's point, why is it more problematic for a poet to be
able to market themselves than an visual artist? more often than not,
poets are more eloquent, they should be better at it. there is this
idea floating around that poetry can't be popular, and if it/or your
work is it cannot be good. how is this idea useful? is this still
connected? i'll try. all whitman was doing was trying to make back the
money he spent publishing his work--at the time there wasn't charles
bernstein and (the late) robert creeley to endorse every book of
progressive verse that came out, if not himself, than who? fuck, he
sang the damn thing.