What’s interesting about your articles, Tom [click 1.) here, 2.) here, 3.) here, and 4.) here for Thomas Brady’s recent articles], is the way you go on working away at establishing your literary historical position while still reading with great insight even poets you regard as over-rated — like John Ashbery, for example. You express your doubts about John Ashbery, yet at the same time obviously love him, and are the first to admit it!
What is also obvious is that the establishment can’t deal with your balancing act at all — they just get angry and slam the door in your face as they did at Blog:Harriet.
The problem is that people in the poetry business can’t admit the emperor is naked because they themselves are tailors, and their whole reputation is built on the pedigree of the tailors who fitted the big boss out with the “new” clothes in the first place. They can’t see as you do that even though it is a charade, a literary historical sleight of hand, an alert reader can still enjoy the magic show they put on. I mean, John Ashbery is a prestidigitator of the highest order, even if his content is an illusion — he knows that himself, and has never claimed otherwise. Why can’t the literary establishment today in America admit that too? I mean, it’s so obvious John Ashbery’s show goes nowhere for humanity except up in lights!
Anymore than those beautiful bound feet above helped to make the emperor’s little girl lighter, or helped her to dance better. She was so beautiful, so perfectly refined, such a wonderful higher thought, transcending herself and her humanity — yet take her shoes off and she was ugly, distorted, and stank.
The point is that that show was tragic while at the same time contributing to one of the greatest human aesthetic accomplishments the world has ever seen, Chinese Mandarin culture. And what’s wrong if we say both?
But mind the girl today, that’s what we say at Scarriet, that’s our message. It’s time to get over the fetish!