Thursday, April 09, 2009

'Leigh Davis is the exception to the rule'

Christchurch-based poet Ross Brighton has made a belated but vociferous contribution to the debate about postmodernism, capitalism, and Kendrick Smithyman (his comment is the last in the thread).

4 Comments:

Blogger Ross Brighton said...

Nice adjective there. I'll take it as a compliment.

7:44 pm  
Blogger Ross Brighton said...

an idea - if you folks are interested I've got an essay I wrote for the University of Canterbury Students mag (the only one o ever wrote for them, and, i believe, the only piece of academic writing they've published in a very long time) defending this stuff against acusations of being detrimental to "the class struggle". It'll need a rewrite, but i could post it either here or on my blog within the next week or so - no sooner as I'm writing several other pieces for publication at the moment as well.

I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the use of the term "postmodernism", as it has never been well defined, and covers a lot of inherently contradictory areas. Cf Leonard Wilcox's article in Landfall, the date of which i can't remember just now...

10:00 pm  
Blogger maps said...

That sounds great Ross! There is a range of opinions about postmodernism - hell, there is a range of definitions of postmodernism - on this blog (cf Giovanni Tiso, who has opinions which seem somewhat similar to yours).

10:08 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Ross Brighton - tell us where Davis fits into to the picture - I mean Maps accuses him of being a big evil Capitalist/Postmodernist - is he attracted to PM as it absolves him of the need to have a conscience? Or is he too hugely in advance of the broken arm so to speak...does he speak form another world in fact?

Postmodernism (I agree the term is problematic) however - hmmm - I saw a book today about Truth (Truth Matters I think it was called - I thought of getting it - it talks about Dawkins also) - it at one stage it seems to put Derrida away in box - or at least it claims that basically he is not a philosopher....

But I like McDiarmid's way of viewing things - he could be Marxist or a mystic, probably a postmodernist or a realist at the same time - a patriot and a violent attacker of Burns (or "Burnolators") and yet he never missed the Burns Luncheons [all this from Alan Bold who knew him and wrote his bio] - loved Nietzsche and Pound but was antiFascist and so on ... drank deeply was deeply serious...

While I agreed in what I could see of the book about Good Old Truth - I have a big part of me loves the ideas of Derridaens and the Deluzians (not that I understand much of what Derrida or any of the others have to say - I tend to think from a more - well I have my own (probably equally muddled and mixed) (even indeed invalid) view of the world that doesn't really involve other philosophers or religions or even any Marxisms or other isms...(albeit I have been influenced by the ideas of their ideas tho)) and other crazy bastards - they liven up, they loosen up, they give permission - the Cold Truth-People are as dangerous - they end up telling us poetry is wrong - that we have to always make progress (whatever that is) - they kill the song with their cold logic - but aye there is a danger with the obfuscation and "mysticism" of postmodernism also...

But Dawkins screams on and on almost hysterically for his beloved Selfish Gene as if his wonderful real world (and indeed such complexity and reality is wonderful)... he raves on
- as if by inserting Reality Only; he had Solved the Universe and eliminated any possibility of mystery from the Universe...

In retaliation the Postmodernists and the Otherists use ever more bewildering words and terminologies and abstractions such as Other and Logo-Centricism and the Explosion of the Sexually Semiotic Signifying Sign & so on - Dawkins can be understood and understood and understood - and his talks of spiders webs and eye evolution is great and so accurate and so true (but) - and on the other side of the disc - Derrida etc are all completely incomprehensible and muddled - but are wonderfully so - like Edward Lear was marvelous and muddled (and rather in despair), a great and magically imaginative thinker with his Yongy Bongy Bo and his Owl and his Pussy Cats and Pounds of Honey etc etc

I actually think Maps is (a little) wrong about Smithyman - I feel he partly liked the idea of deconstruction...but remained skeptical also.

But Smithy - now he loved The Word - never actually worked in a Lolly Factory (what did he know of Real Slog, the real world? He was a word smithy..) ... nor a Slaughter House...he sat at the deep centre of the Auckland University's academic Dedalian labyrinth plotting ever more complex and miasmic poems....deeply sinister and dark he could be with his > 27 types of ambiguity.....but likable also ...apparently as McDiarmid (Grieve) was.

1:09 am  

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