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Posted: Thursday March 7, 2013
Text in the City: Negative Capability, or A Kind of Private Quicunque Vult

(John Keats, Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

I believe that the human intellect is the closest thing we have to the divine. It is the way we can join one another in spirit.

- George Bowering, The Holy Life of the Intellect



by Garry Thomas Morse

Following a pantomime of 1817, during his walk and “disquisition with Dilke”, John Keats came up with “negative capability” as the capability “of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” His letter of 1817 and this quotation is perhaps more bandied about than delved into. Negative capability might also serve as a convenient and sufficiently palatable catch-all for this state of being one enters in the wake of truly astonishing works of art.

In Ion, Plato jots down the notion of the Muse magnetizing the rhapsode, who in turn magnetizes those listening. Skipping over varying ideas of the divine, the shamanistic and the alchemic to be distilled from the works of admirable poets over the centuries, we find a new definition in Federico García Lorca’s wonderfully lyrical lecture “Theory and Play of the Duende”:

Seeking the duende, there is neither map nor discipline. We only know it burns the blood like powdered glass, that it exhausts, rejects all the sweet geometry we understand, that it shatters styles and makes Goya, master of the greys, silvers and pinks of the finest English art, paint with his knees and fists in terrible bitumen blacks, or strips Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer stark naked in the cold of the Pyrenees, or sends Jorge Manrique to wait for death in the wastes of Ocaña, or clothes Rimbaud’s delicate body in a saltimbanque’s costume, or gives the Comte de Lautréamont the eyes of a dead fish, at dawn, on the boulevard.


Arthur Rimbaud’s work has always fascinated me, partly for its expression of a personal belief system that footnotes other mythologies and theodicies, and partly because is rooted in language and partly because there are times it vowels its head off. His main works are Les Illuminations, which offers a glimpse of his visionary system of language, and Une Saison en Enfer, which appears to be a mock confession and bid for repentance. In what is thought to be a description of Rimbaud by his lover Paul Verlaine in the guise of the “Infernal Spouse”, however bitter this monologue, it contains instances of startling lucidity:

I could see the whole scene with which, in his mind, he surrounded himself: clothes, fabrics, furniture; I lent him emblems, another face. I saw all that touched him, as he would have created it for himself. When he seemed listless, I followed him, myself, in strange and complex deeds, far out, for good or ill: I was certain of never entering his world. How many hours of vigil, beside his dear sleeping body, questioning why he wanted to evade reality so deeply! No man every wished for it so. I realised – without fearing for him – that he might well prove a serious danger to society. – He knows perhaps secrets for transforming life? No, he only seeks them, I’d tell myself.


After Completion cover

Of course, after renouncing this belief system and this way of life, Rimbaud “got religion” and abandoned Paris and poetry to become a relatively “pious” gun-runner. However, when speaking of the The Later Letters of Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff (Talonbooks), Sharon Thesen emphasizes the importance of Rimbaud’s work (along with that of James Joyce) to Frances Boldereff, in particular his early poem of personal conviction “Credo in Unam”, indicating that Rimbaud provided artistic validation of the beliefs she held in fierce opposition to what she deemed to be the “deadness” of American life. Furthermore, it is partly through the medium of Rimbaud and the idea of a personal poetic belief system that Olson and Boldereff found themselves able to continue their conversation.


Tracing the Lines cover

In the book of reflections Tracing the Lines (Talonbooks), there is an essay by Marie Annharte Baker titled “Borrowing Enemy Language: A First Nations Woman’s Use of English” that discusses the use of English and Native languages. In particular, I was captivated by her defence of aboriginal expression and by her assertion there is “holy text” in visual representation:

“Well, to me, a pictograph is a novel.” I realize many others might see a picture scratched on a rock or cave as being ritually painted. I was talking holy text, and my impromptu defence that a pictograph might actually generate more writing than one novel probably struck him as pure cheek. As an Ojibway writer who stands in awe of the pictographs and petroglyphs of the Great Lakes region, the mysterious meanings of our ancestors’ writings are still a mystery left to be deciphered. I believe prophecies for our coming age have been left for us. Even for those of us who speak or write in a borrowed language – we have been left with symbols that many of us “educated” Natives would be limited to understand.

Annharte Baker also emphasizes the shift in the role of Native language in our daily lives, from her perspective:

The Ojibway language has now achieved the status of being a “sacred” language. It is a preferred spoken language at ceremonies. English, if used, is of minor importance. Speaking an Indigenous language is the better way of honouring the earth and the language of one’s relatives. Our people know we respect this earth, or Turtle Island, through our words. Poetic narratives are prayers that engage the spirits of both audience and environment.


Wassily Kandinsky had similar theories, and in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art (Dover Publications), he questions the materialistic nature of his time, criticizing the widespread absence of belief in religion practices and the hypocrisy to be found in espoused political viewpoints. When he touches upon what he deems “loftier segments” of the “spiritual triangle”, including science and art in this category, he criticizes a preference for only what is quantifiable. However relevant in the present age, the particulars are perhaps less important than Kandinsky’s critique of the public in relation to works of art in a gallery:

All this is carefully printed in a book–name of artist–name of picture. People with these books in their hands go from wall to wall, turning over pages, reading the names. Then they go away, neither richer nor poorer than when they came, and are absorbed at once in their business, which has nothing to do with art. Why did they come? In each picture is a whole lifetime imprisoned, a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes, and joys.

An astute young friend of mine is readily outraged at the number of people taking pictures of these works with their phones in the galleries, seldom or never even looking at the works themselves, in many ways echoing Walter Benjamin’s expressed concern “that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” In his much quoted essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” the materialism of a painting is part of its “aura”, with all its immanence for the observer in the present, although Benjamin indicates this quality can be found in photographs and films that serve a similar function to the portraits of the past.

In a chapter on “Spiritual Revolution,” Kandinsky touts the spiritual elements in music by a number of composers, including Richard Wagner, Arnold Schönberg, and Claude Debussy, although he speaks most eloquently of Maurice Maeterlinck’s dramas, like Annharte Baker, in terms of prophecies:

This atmosphere Maeterlinck creates principally by purely artistic means. His material machinery (gloomy mountains, moonlight, marshes, wind, the cries of owls, etc.) plays really a symbolic role and helps to give the inner note. Maeterlinck’s principal technical weapon is his use of words. The word may express an inner harmony. This inner harmony springs partly, perhaps principally, from the object which it names. But if the object is not itself seen, but only its name heard, the mind of the hearer receives an abstract impression only, that is to say as of the object dematerialized, and a corresponding vibration is immediately set up in the heart.



Kandinsky also mentions Beethoven in this regard, whose music is often called “spiritual.” In the somewhat hyperbolic Beethoven: His Spiritual Development (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group), J.W.N. Sullivan speaks of Beethoven’s self-admitted tendency of going into “a raptus“, and also muses over a theory that the quality of his music in contrast with his letters and his personality is indicative of an ‘unconscious’ genius:

Such states did not enter into his fully conscious mind. The serenity of the slow movement of the ninth symphony, for example, a serenity which contains within itself the deepest and most unforgettable sorrow, and yet a sorrow which is transformed by its inclusion in that serenity; the still more indescribable synthesis expressed in the Heiliger Dankgesang of the A minor quartet; these states, we are required to believe, did not form part of the conscious life of Beethoven. They were related to that conscious life no more closely than was the exquisite humour of some of his scherzos with the crude jokes of his everyday life.



Aimez-vous Brahms? Or Bach? Jan Zwicky’s Forge (Gaspereau Press) will break your heart beautifully anyway.

Whether these qualities are communicable or not, this hypothesis is not out of keeping with the proposed idea in Plato’s Ion that the rhapsode goes out of their mind during their recitation. An elegant and compelling treatment of this subject of the poet being, as Sappho says, “of two minds” may be found in Jan Zwicky’s Auden as Philosopher: How Poets Think (Institute For Coastal Research), written for The Ralph Gustafson Lecture Series in 2011, in which she interprets W.H. Auden’s “kind of private Quicunque vult”, his own profession of faith in his Oxford lecture “Making, Knowing, and Judging” as a type of epistemology or perhaps a way of a poet knowing what she knows.




Zwicky elaborates upon Auden’s use of two terms in particular, the Primary Imagination that “perceives sacred beings and sacred events” and the Secondary Imagination that can perceive beauty in such a way as to be able to articulately express, or fit into expression the sense of awe that is experienced by the Primary Imagination. Zwicky goes on to summarize Auden’s viewpoint:

The passive awe of the Primary Imagination precipitates a desire to express that awe; the Secondary Imagination says that the expression must be both true to the experience and, if possible, intelligible to others; and it works to make it so. This is the origin of the work of art, which, according to Auden, is always a rite. The poems reveals its ritual nature in its “deliberately and ostentatiously different” use of language.


As Zwicky reminds us, the etymology of the word ‘imagination’ leads back to a Greek word that means to bring to light, and in Auden’s view, to perceive things that exist. Another recent text that brings quite a few things to light is Steve McCaffery’s The Darkness of the Present: Poetics, Anachronism, and the Anomaly (The University of Alabama Press), a comprehensive overview of poetic practices. One caveat, and from yours truly, the author of books deemed “avant-garde” or at the very least “difficult”, is that McCaffery’s book of essays is not a light read and one assumes he is already promulgating such theories to the deeply initiated. That said, he does shed light upon various poetic practices, which readily invite summary sooner than critique.

McCaffery’s The Darkness of the Present takes more than a fleeting look at:

1.) the emergence of the Dada sound-poem in 1916, specificially with Hugo Ball’s contributions to “a veritable poetry without words that jettisons one of the hitherto indispensable elements of poetic composition: meaning.”

2.) “corrosive” poetics, deletion, and erasure, with a focus on Ronald Johnson’s “poem exhumed from a different poem” known as Radi   os.

3.) systematically sifted text, including Jackson Mac Low’s Words nd Ends from Ez, “a text systematically excavated from Ezra Pound’s Cantos“ as a means of exhuming instances of the poet’s name in the work.

4.) chance-generated text, in particular the mesostic (medial-acrostic) writings of musician John Cage, which reveal “the paradox of a coherence within incoherence via the concept of transcoherence.”

5.) the significance of Laurence Sterne’s marbled page in “the most formally egregious anglophone text of the eighteenth century” Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman which goes well beyond investigation of the work as a postmodern novel.

6.) the practice of “flarfing” or “Google sculpting”, involving a renegade use of search engines to generate odd phrases akin to extreme collage and the disjunctive texts of Language writing, along with Kenneth Goldsmith’s practice of “uncreative writing.”

7.) exploration of a state by architects and poets under the aegis of an undetermined concept: parapoetics.

8.) further exploration of architectural ideas that makes use of labyrinthine disequilibrium, including proposed Situationist models.

9.) aspects of eighteenth-century picturesque theory that may relate to contemporary disjunctive poetics.

10.) aspects of the applied use of Alfred Jarry’s ‘pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions that governs the rules and laws of the exception rather than the norm.

11.) music and musicality in poetry from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, denoting instances of insurgent counter-aesthetics.

That was surely one of the more complicated executive summaries ever executed. More to the point, McCaffery’s The Darkness of the Present is quite a nourishing read and perhaps even a Roman banquet of poetic theories, ideas, and trajectories. His continuous argument in the book is more or less on behalf of texts he deems ‘anomalous’, or when lacking in material means, moments or imaginings that are ‘anomalous’, even on account of their reaching towards the infinite or the impossible. What makes McCaffery’s writing nourishing is his tendency to leapfrog a few centuries here and there, to help bring to light the most startling literary historicities to bolster his theories about given areas of contemporary poetics.




One reason I felt obliged to include The Darkness of the Present in this piece is on account of an unexpected undercurrent in the text—if it is not touching upon “negative capability” or the “sacred”, it is at the very least calling to our attention the uncanny personal convictions of the poets and artists in question. For example, in his overview of the Dada sound-poem, McCaffery interprets Hugo Ball’s self-described regressive epiphany during a reading in a way that is not out of keeping with Zwicky’s discussion of Auden and the Primary Imagination:

the condition described accurately corresponds with Ball’s general theories of primordial memory and the complex imbrications of the child and the irrational. Renouncing one type of institutional codification, Ball returns involuntarily to another: the Catholic Church. Ball predicts that in the conditions experienced in the world around him, art “will be irrational, primitive, and complex; it will speak a secret language and leave behind documents not of edification but of paradox.”

McCaffery finds in Ronald Johnson’s poem Radi   os not only a Blakean re-vision of Milton’s Paradise Lost but also as a re-enactment of Orphic myth that

puts forward a figure of the author as the mythic partner of Eurydice. Johnson makes text move, wedding music (words) to light (the white page), and descends into the Satanic realms to subdue an epic poem by its partial deletion. He further looks back to a Tiresian construction: towards his androgynous Eurydice-Milton. But it is not Orpheus (Johnson) who is torn to pieces by Maenads, but Paradise Lost whose words (not head) float down the river still singing.



Listen to Jack Spicer’s poetry and lectures at PennSound!


This is more a staticky quibble than a critique, but at this point in the book I would have welcomed at least one more digression into the poetics of Jack Spicer and the zeal he shared with Johnson for the Orpheus myth, and also the brilliant film by Cocteau. As with Rimbaud’s greatest works, Spicer’s work asserts a belief system that is rooted in language and even depicts its own story, so to speak, in a psychical space where translation becomes transformation with an air of divination, as if the sorrow in his poems arose from the Orphic rending that McCaffery describes, along with the memory of the loss of the temporary reality that disappears over the verge of the page.



The opening to Claude Debussy’s opera version of Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande, staged most strangely in Zurich

This is not so unlike the endless cycle of grief that makes up Maeterlinck’s Pelléas et Mélisande, in which all the characters appear to suffer from the trauma of the story they are enacting, a story that has already happened and is going to happen again, with us as its witness.

Here is a bit of what Robin Blaser had to say about Jack Spicer’s method of poetic “dictation” in an essay titled “The Practice of Outside”:

Jack’s dictation, which develops from a “spiritual discipline,” as I have noted, or from what he described as an emptying out in order to let something speak through his language is not difficult to follow. It is at times frightening. The possibility of it, he derives from Yeats, who derived his from Blake. It is not the derivation that makes it alive, but the practice. His language appears to speak by itself or it is used by another order. The poet’s voice reappears in a polarity that forwards the entire range of what is not exactly himself. The landscape is not then a picture postcard, but the narration of an action in which the poet and reader are imaged. The visibility of it is measured against the vast other that language also holds.



Angelus Novus, Paul Klee, The Israel Museum

To modulate back to The Darkness of the Present, we find echoes of Ezra Pound’s “paradisial” fragmentation in his late poems sneak into a chapter about Jackson Mac Low’s Words nd Ends from Ez, which McCaffery feels is demonstrative of “a poetics of demolition,” comparing it to Walter Benjamin’s description of the angel in Paul Klee’s painting Angelus Novus and indicating that Mac Low “pulverizes The Cantos, reducing them to a systematic, engineered paradox.”

In the subsequent chapter about John Cage’s similar mesostic writings, chiefly siftings of Finnegan’s Wake using James Joyce’s name as a ‘key’, McCaffery brushes aside his own Saussurean musings with a conclusion that is a touch mystical:

But what would these secular critical claims have meant to Cage? There is a Buddhist belief in Sarva-dham-sunyatà relevant to his practice; the phrase translates as “the vanity of all signs.” Perhaps the paragram’s economy ultimately corroborates the truth of that tenet, returning us to the poverty and finitude of the human inside the infinity of language.



A 1773 edition of Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, open to the famous marbled page – The Laurence Sterne Trust

In perhaps the most fascinating chapter, McCaffery’s investigation of Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman brings to light a number of theories regarding the marbled page, dwelling on the theological implications of similarly disruptive panels that directly contrast the figurative with the non-figurative, as can be found in the work of Fra Angelico:

The Incarnation is a perplexing mystery at the heart of Christian meditation, a mystery of the spirit as Aquinas pointed out attainable only by passing through and beyond the corporeal…Dissemblance, dissimulation, or the visual conversion of a figure constitute the basic tenets of a long theological traditional (traceable to Dionysius the Areopagite) for the figuration of the divine.

McCaffery’s chapter on the subject of “flarfing” or “uncreative writing” did not quite hold up for me, mostly because of some broad statements such as the Internet being the realization of Mallarmé’s concept of the open book. Either there are too many popup ads or not enough popup ads. Make up your mind, Interweb! However, this is an opportunity for McCaffery to talk about Hesiod and the idea of poetry not being entirely human:

Hesiod’s etiological myth of his own poetics of empowerment differs markedly from the prevalent doxa that links poetic voice to subjectivity. In its archaic formulation, poetry is not strictly human and accordingly disturbs any attempt to identify voice with human subjectivity. The poet is dispossessed by a whimsical power that disturbs not only vocal integrity but also the certainty of truth.

In one of two chapters on architecture, McCaffery discusses the poetry of spatial structures, drawing upon somewhat religious sources:

In his De vulgari eloquentia II. 9, 9 Dante offers a distinction between stanza (literally “room”) and canzone that illustrates the presidential status of architectural thinking…[t]he interrogative crux structuring the entirety of Augustine’s Confessions (a book that frequently addresses the infinite as a locus) is a strictly spatial problem articulated as an architectural issue of impossible housing: I call on you, Lord, to you the Infinite to come and inhabit me, I who am but finite.

In the subsequent chapter, McCaffery looks at the model of the labyrinth from Ancient Greek myth and how it relates to imaginary architectural models of disequilibrium that offer an interesting challenge to commercial forces creating the structure of human lives for them in order to promote real estate values, taking into account the Situationist concept of “dérive”:

The Situationist architecture will be a new Daedalus of constructed situations whose architectural aspirations manifest as the endless diversionary traces of both visible and invisible labyrinths in a soft architecture of the derive. Situations will provide the germinal forces for architectural and environmental reconstruction, and discrete artistic practice (sculptures, paintings, and poems) will be replaced by imaginative practices of everyday life.


I could not read this chapter without thinking of Lisa Robertson’s Occasional Work and Seven Walks From the Office for Soft Architecture (Coach House Books), a book that poetically “remaps” the city of Vancouver with her literary and aesthetic imaginings.



Electric Company Theatre’s production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s NO EXIT (Huis Clos)

McCaffery’s emphasis on the ludic calls to mind the life as game show environment found on reality television, but even more so The Onion’s online parody series Sex House, which bears comparison with Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos, a possible example of disequilibrium housing in which crude and unpleasant realities intrude upon the usual fantasy reality television environment—the houseguests are drugged, one guest gets pregnant, another guest accidentally creates a horrible “mold room” and yet another guest draws a “sacred image” on his forehead to ensure his face is blotted out on camera. After several “episodes”, the “Big Brother” format becomes increasingly Orwellian, for reals.

The chapter concludes with the Situationist ideal of immortality, as expressed in “architecture against death” designs such as Reversible Destiny by Arakawa and Gins who

believe death is unfashionable and undesirable; their urban call is for “cities without graveyards.” Their Yoro Park in the Gifu township in Japan offers a taste of the heightened perceptual awareness that architectural imbalance induces. Through such architecture, they hypothesize, human destiny can be reversed, and immortality, rather than a wished-for theological beyond, will be an atheistic matter of individual choice.

McCaffery’s chapter about eighteenth-century picturesque is perhaps the most materialist in nature, as he sets out to historicize the work of Clark Coolidge by drawing comparisons with picturesque painting in the eighteenth century, citing the humanist doctrine most often quoted from Horace’s Ars Poetica: ut pictura poesis (“as is painting so is poetry”). There is a most engaging discussion of poetic landscapes made up of partial linguistic units that may suggest meaning through a type of associationism. McCaffery then offers an abstract paradox involving the idea of a child being suspended between two worlds:

This lost life that the infant never had marks a singular passage and an ineluctable destiny for human being: to die into language without knowing it. Heidegger famously posits a double negative constitution of being: a being toward death and a being toward language. Both inclinations are unavoidable and irreversible, and somewhere in that transit is a stage named infancy.

McCaffery continues with the theme of mortality, elaborating upon Alfred Jarry’s science of imaginary solutions known as ‘pataphysics. Fascinating as it is, this chapter reveals a schism in much discourse about conceptual poetics these days, under the aegis of the “ethical” that skews the most keen critical acumen, and appears to be a kind of backsliding from what is otherwise an aesthetic argument or offering. Such a view is rather Platonic in the proposal of lofty ideals, with rather arbitrary, hypocritical, and perhaps irritable reaching after some fleeting notion of “the good.” In McCaffery’s book, this serves to make his book cohere, as there is an expressed tension between imaginary processes and the instinct to ground them, historically or otherwise.



Alfred Jarry’s Exploits & Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician (Exact Change)

However, McCaffery’s drawing a parallel between historical examples of imposed martial law (with emphasis on the establishment of concentration camps before and during World War II) and Jarry’s theories of ‘pataphysics results in extreme bedfellows. While I am rather clumsily making McCaffery a scapegoat in this instance, it is an excellent juncture at which to point out that Surrealist and Situationist views were attempting to create rules of exception to the rules of authoritarian power structures at the time of their inception, at times hyperconscious of being ultimately absorbed by them. It may be the province of the poet and/or artist to find interstices in which exceptions can occur to at the very least provide some alternative to what passes as social normative values.

To liken such a pursuit to finding legal cause (ie. exceptions) for assassinations and massacre seems a disservice or at the very least, self-defeating, even in a theoretical sense. Surely more than Jarry’s ‘pataphysics, it is a problem that we now spend most of our relatively panoptic lives observing and informing upon one another, with a nod towards social adherence and the “greater good” that is good for all of us, to the point that whether it is a political machine or not, our potentiality for “negative capability, or our own “kind of private quicunque vult” is eroded into less than half lives. We continue to protest physically but we have already defeated ourselves, ‘pataphysically.



Are we indeed living in Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle?


McCaffery also references a prophecy by Situationist Asgar Jorn that is reminiscent of Kandinsky’s prophecy that these would be far more spiritual times:

he sees ‘pataphysics as the third great stage in Western religions. Following the natural epoch that ended with the Bronze Age and our current Judeo-Christian materialist age, the world awaits its third age, which will be ‘pataphysical.


The Golden Fish, Paul Klee, Kunsthalle, Hamburg

In his very informative final chapter on musicality in poetry from the eighteenth century through the twentieth century, there is a sudden dip into similar reductionism akin to all of Paul Klee’s works being reduced to a single painting that Walter Benjamin happened to mention that ended up in Theodor Adorno’s keeping. An overview of Klee vis-à-vis ut pictura musica (painting as music) might have been more suitable to round out the book, or for that matter, the apparition of a mystical fish, although once again McCaffery provides an interesting digression, equating space in Eugen Gomringer’s poem “Silencio” with Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the only letter (all the letters are feminine) that is unpronounceable, bringing us back to a sacred and mysterious notion of language:

Rather than rebuking Aleph, God grants her primacy among the letters and gives to her sole unity to serve as the primary constructive principle. We can now construct our interpretation. The central absence in “Silencio” that marks the poem’s silence is precisely the space of the unpronounceable Aleph, which is unpronounceable owing to the face that it represents silence, quiet, peace, no noise—


“Silencio” – Eugen Gomringer

Stepping back for a second from the political machinery McCaffery is addressing in all sincerity, and also the pogroms that drove my own Jewish relations out of Poland and into the world Orwell describes most eloquently in his essay “Antisemitism in Britain”, as a “kind of private Quicunque vult” of my own, I wish to echo some of Annharte Baker’s sentiments, admitting that exploration of my own Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations’ heritage has uncovered interesting parallels with these and other areas of my learning.

However, the primary point of difference in my own case involves a view of art that embraces theatre and dreaming as an essential and vital part of tribal life. In this particular paradigm of historical bullying, oppression and genocide, depending where you make your territory and for that matter, where you stand, it is insufficient to rely upon an aesthetic silence to communicate in the place of one’s own continually implied “vanishing.” If anything, beyond the monothematic clichés of foldable pop culture and pop art, our style as diverse Nations must be assertive and even loud and full of multidimensional overlap, adopting if anything the kind of aesthetic methodology that Stravinsky adopted to try and resuscitate tonal music in an “atonal” world, the kind of thing Adorno found so devilish, even after Auschwitz.




Ultimately, in the spirit of “negative capability”, poets must add their own set of stones to what can readily be perceived as an architecture against death, and based on their amount of personal vision and the intricacy of their own belief system, I prophesy their work will be imbued with an integrity that might even be deemed sacred. Yes, poets, you must be capable “of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” Yes, you.