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February 13, 2005

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Roy Frisvold
Having contributed to "eratio" in the past, I may be seen to have a dog in this fight. So, rather than dignify ad hominem attacks--poetry and the web are both big enough to accommodate each other, without rancor--I offer some short observations. Diderot claimed that to produce anything, even a mediocre thing, took great effort, while its criticism was facile by comparison. This is not to characterize the merits of any particular poetry sites, but to appreciate the efforts of those who bring what they do to the rest of us. As for the notion "eratio" parodies the postmodern "experiment": one can certainly debate whether that is even possible, as parody is the dynamo of postmodern experiment, and therefore automatically subsumed. "Discourse is like a river," for example, is more complex than the more dismissive might admit. Space it thus: "Dis course is like a river" and you couldn't tell it from an excerpt of Finnegans Wake. We have the force of citation and parody in one, with a Joycean pun. And river-like discourse--that is, the universe of discourse--harkens back to Herakleitos. Then again, the "course" in discourse means literally "to run," so there is the etymological stratum to the sentence. Finally, there is the force of analogy: is "Discourse is like a river" any more facile, any less fruitful, than Wittgenstein's saying language is a city? This is all a bit removed from any personal attack by reviewer upon writer/editor. But is there anything more conservative, more traditional, than such attacks? I think not, and I think it's not worth addressing premodernists on their own terms.
Roy Frisvold
Having contributed to "eratio" in the past, I may be seen to have a dog in this fight. So, rather than dignify ad hominem attacks--poetry and the web are both big enough to accommodate each other, without rancor--I offer some short observations. Diderot claimed that to produce anything, even a mediocre thing, took great effort, while its criticism was facile by comparison. This is not to characterize the merits of any particular poetry sites, but to appreciate the efforts of those who bring what they do to the rest of us. As for the notion "eratio" parodies the postmodern "experiment": one can certainly debate whether that is even possible, as parody is the dynamo of postmodern experiment, and therefore automatically subsumed. "Discourse is like a river," for example, is more complex than the more dismissive might admit. Space it thus: "Dis course is like a river" and you couldn't tell it from an excerpt of Finnegans Wake. We have the force of citation and parody in one, with a Joycean pun. And river-like discourse--that is, the universe of discourse--harkens back to Herakleitos. Then again, the "course" in discourse means literally "to run," so there is the etymological stratum to the sentence. Finally, there is the force of analogy: is "Discourse is like a river" any more facile, any less fruitful, than Wittgenstein's saying language is a city? This is all a bit removed from any personal attack by reviewer upon writer/editor. But is there anything more conservative, more traditional, than such attacks? I think not, and I think it's not worth addressing premodernists on their own terms.
Great site!
jay
Thanks for sharing this, Crag. The amount of sheer nastiness in the air seems to have increased greatly over the past week or so. Or maybe I'm just paying more attention to it. The opponents of "postmodernism" always seem to be the first to attack -- yet they play the victim card so well.

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