Saturday, September 18, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Dylan is a word slinger to be, maybe a genuine poet during some parts of his oeuvre. Still, he is not a writer, not as we understand the word, a craftsman, an artist, a professional of expressions, instructional or artistic, who crafts sentences that start someplace and create precedence for the sentence that follows, one idea organically following another until the journey of words, paragraphs, pages, concludes somewhere far from where one started to write. That is, writers, write things that make sense in some respect, as in you understand clearly the thing being described, or that you understand it more abstractly and realize that the writer is undertaking a task that tries to deal with several things--philosophical notions, contradictory arguments, overlapping historical data --and bringing a coherent framework to understand complex matters, or at least come away with a sense of what the writer is getting at.
Even Dylan's wildest lyrics, from Desolation Row to his more recent brilliance noteworthy Rough and Rowdy Ways: surreal or nonsequitur as the stanzas may be, the line limits and the need t rhyme imposed restrictions on Dylan's musings. Hey needed to wrap up his investigations into his more obscure imaginings. He gave you something to talk about. Tarantula was written on the road, in hotel rooms, on tour, rattled off in high doses of speed, and maybe other drugs too inane to bother talking about, and it indeed reads like it, snub-nosed Burroughs, Kerouac without the jivey swing. Some parts make you laugh, some good lines abound. Still, it suffers in that readers wanted their hero, the poet of their generation, to write a genuinely good of poetry or some such thing, with true believers tying themselves in self-revealing knots to defend the book that is interesting as an artifact to the historical fact of Dylan's fame and influence and not much else.
There is a part I like, effective as poetry, a bit of self-awareness that shows that Dylan realizes that his persona is false, a conspiracy between himself and the major media, and that he might have to account for the construction somewhere in the future of the whole matter.
Monday, September 13, 2021
Charles Bukowski is one whom very little of his work goes a very long way. I admire the absence of unneeded images and place them somewhere in the Hemingway league as a writer who can be spare without being chintzy. That said, his minimalism gets monotonous after a while. His lonely-drunk persona, grousing continually to speak for the dispossessed and the marginal, becomes its own sort of sentimentality: the fact that Bukowski became aware, early on, that his constituency expected certain types of poems from him forced him, I think, to stylize himself into a corner he never managed to get out of. Not availing himself of different kinds of writing made him, finally, a bore. The truth of his loneliness, of his drunkenness, made him into a patsy for an audience that was too young, by and large, to have enough life to write their own stories. Bukowski became a one-trick pony: his best material is his earliest, like Henry Miller, and like Miller as well, became a self-parody without knowing it.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
In one of his essays, Edgar Allen Poe summarizes one of the essential elements of his philosophical musings by asserting that we are cursed with "the memory from before birth," a slight and wavering recall of a time when calm and serenity were in place. Nothing of the distortions or crass money, family, or religion made us nervous, devious, only half alive (if "alive" at all). The ideas concerned our constant and, at times, overwhelming desire to return to such a nocturnal, darkened, stress-less state. It was a yearning to return to the womb, perhaps. Whatever the motivation, these were longing for death-like sleep, a patent serenity. Following suit are Poe's peculiar interest in things decadent and decaying, those thin, reedy and tubercular characters of diseased gentry and errant aristocratic stock who hang on to the waking life by a mere thread, effete and defeated and gracefully blended into the material realm, waiting for gravity to take its toll and to become themselves receivers of the dirt nap, free of the binds that only punish you for having nerve endings.
Tuesday, September 7, 2021