DRUGS & POETRY

Robert Graves

“There’s nothing classy or poetic about opium. It has the same effect as morphine and heroin. You get relaxed and energetic at the same time. Problems become unimportant. You feel sleepy, but if you go to bed you lie awake. You itch all over. You get constipated. You get hungry, especially for sweets. You get patient and understanding. You get nice…..an opium high can be described in one word: comfortable. It’s weird that people get to where they’ll give up their souls for stuff that just makes them comfortable.”
…………………………………………………………………….Eric Detzer

“Everywhere and at all times, men and women have sought, and duly found, the means of taking a holiday from the reality of their generally dull and often acutely unpleasant existence. A holiday out of space, out of time, in the eternity of sleep or ecstasy, in the heaven or the limbo of visionary fantasy.”
…………………………………………………………………….Aldous Huxley. “A Treatise on Drugs”

“Over the centuries our Hindu philosophers have seen everything come and go. Empires, religions, famines, good times, invasions, reforms, liberators, repressors….and drugs. Drugs are among the most influential and dangerous powers available to humans. They open up glorious and pleasurable chambers in the mind. They give great power. Thus they can seduce the searcher away from the path.”
……………………………………………………………………Sri Krishna Preem

“Why, the slave trade was merciful compared with the opium trade. We did not destroy the bodies of the Africans, for it was our immediate interest to keep them alive; we did not debase their natures, corrupt their minds, nor destroy their souls. But the opium seller slays the body after he has corrupted, degraded and annihilated the moral being of unhappy sinners, While every hour is bringing new victims to a Moloch which knows no satiety, and where the English murderer and Chinese suicide vie with each other in offerings at his shrine.”
……………………..quoted by Karl Marx in an article, Opium or Commerce, Sept 20, 1858

“The Way of Heaven is fairness to all; it does not suffer us to harm others to benefit ourselves. Men are alike in this in all the World; for they cherish life and hate what endangers life. O majesty, control your wicked. O, Majesty, you can order the opium not to be grown, the fields hoed over, and sown instead with the five grains, and thus show the sincerity of your politeness, and humility, so our countries may have peace, together.”
…………………………..Letter of Lin Tse Hsu about the opium trade to Queen Victoria, 1839

“Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train racing toward death. To smoke opium is to get out of the train while it is still moving. It is to concern oneself with something other than life or death.”
…………………………………………………………………….Jean Cocteau

“Oh, jab me with your needle a hundred times and a hundred times I will bless you, Saint Morphine.”
…………………………………………………………………….Jules Verne

“Woe to you, my princess, when I come. I will kiss you quite red and feed you till you are plump. And if you are forward you shall see who is the stronger, a little girl who doesn’t eat enough or a big strong man with cocaine in his body. In my last serious depression I took cocaine again and a small dose lifted me to the heights in a wonderful fashion. I am just now collecting the literature for a song of praise to this magical substance.”
…………………………………………………………………….Sigmund Freud

“If you think dope is for kicks and for thrills, you’re out of your mind….If you think you need stuff to play music or sing, you’re crazy. It can fix you so you can’t play nothing or sing nothing.”
…………………………………………………………………….Billie Holliday

“All excess is ill, but drunkenness is of the worst sort: it spoils health, dismounts the mind, and unmans men; it reveals secrets, is quarrelsome, lascivious, impudent, dangerous, and mad. In fine, he that is drunk is not a man, because he is so long void of reason, that distinguishes a man from a beast.”
…………………………………………………………………….William Penn

“The Times reports that a new study has found that the use of such stimulants and antidepressants as Ritalin has increased dramatically in the past few years, not merely among hyperactive preteens and teens, but now among preschoolers. We’re talking about two-,three, and four-year-olds. Babies! Prozac is also being prescribed….to these tiny tykes!”
…………………………………………………………………….Jim Hightower

“Prohibition, a dismal failure, not only increased law-breaking, but also created a criminal class that turned to gambling, drugs, and prostitution when the 18th Amendment was finally repealed in 1933.”
…………………………………………………………………….George Bruce Woodin

“The drug war is just a U.S. excuse to control our countries.”
……………………………………………Evo Morales (Bolivian Presidential Candidate Aug,2002)

“When we finally decide that drug prohibition has been not more successful than alcohol prohibition, the drug dealers will disappear.”
………………………………………………………….Ron Paul (Republican Congressman Texas)

“No stars were visible in the long night of the opium habit.”
…………………………………………………………………….William Cobbe

“Narcotics in Hollywood is a complete story unto itself, and it finds parallels with the world of stage and music, all of which received unprecedented attention from magazines and newspapers; reading them now, one gets the impression that the world had succumbed to an epidemic of addiction.

“In spite of, or perhaps because of the evidence of misery, corruption and waste, our fascination with opium persists to this day. Stereotype-shattering contradictions such as the ease with which strict Victorians accommodated drug habitués throw into question our notions of pre-twentieth century lives, habits and values and in doing so, help clarify our present-day attitudes towards drugs and drug addiction. And though we may try to shake off the myth of the Morphean slumber and the promise of profound dreams and boundless creativity, it’s doubtful that opium will ever let us”.
…………………………………………………………………….Barbara Hodgson

“We are making these drugs for Satan-Americans and Jews. If we cannot kill them with guns, we will kill them with drugs.”
…………………………………………………………………….Fatwa of Hezbollah

“I remember someone saying if you try heroin once you’ll become hooked. Of course I laughed and scoffed at the idea but I now believe this to be true.”
…………………………………………………………………….Kurt Cobain

“Opium, horrible and blessed connection of pleasure, destroys our organs and senses. The healthy appetite and the bourgeois sensation of feeling good and tired have to be sacrificed. The eyes water, the ears ring. Objects, printed words, people look faded. Sounds and words wander randomly in the tiny mechanisms of the organs of hearing.”
…………………………………………………………………….Gezu Csath

“Intoxication is not unnatural or deviant. Absolute sobriety is not a natural or primary human state.”
………………………………………………………………….Richard Davenport-Hines

“According to one analysis, retail sales of illegal heroin, cocaine, and marijuana generate close to $27 billion, with an unreported illegal income of about $21 billion. Illicit sales of all drugs have been estimated as high as $75 billion. Any way you cut it, that’s big business. Three groups have a vested interest in keeping it that way: Organized crime, terrorists, and drug enforcement agencies all make their living off drugs….”
…………………………………………………………………….Georgette Bennet

“In the roster of pop-culture medical doctors who don’t reflect well on the profession, includes the character of Dr. Henry Jekyll, created by Robert Lewis Stevenson. Jekyll’s self-medication experiments turned him into the sociopathic Mr. Edward Hyde, with fatal side effects. After dreaming the story, Stevenson, despite suffering from tuberculosis, wrote the 60,000-word classic in a six-day, cocaine-fueled frenzy.”
…………………………………………………………………….Erin Barrett & Jack Mingo

“The Incas believed that the Gods presented coca to the people to satisfy their hunger, to provide them with new vigor, and to help them forget their miseries…..It was intimately involved in their religious ceremonies and in the various initiation rites; and that shamans used it to induce a trance-like state in order to commune with the spirits. It was a far too important commodity to be used by the common Indians, and their exposure to coca was very limited before the invasion by Pizarro and his conquistadors.”
…………………………………………………………………….John Mann

“There is always a need for intoxication: China has opium, Islam has hashish, the West has woman.”
………………………………………………………………Andre Malraux, Man’s Fate

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
with tangerine trees and marmalade skies…”
………………………………………….John Lennon

“During World War II (1941-45), President Franklin D. Roosevelt legitimized smoking by declaring tobacco an essential wartime crop. Even Army training manuals of the day urged leaders to “smoke and make your troopers smoke.” Gen. Douglas MacArthur himself demanded a better supply of tobacco in the soldier’s daily ration. He ordered that $10 million raised for the war effort “be used to purchase American cigarettes, which, of all personal comforts, are the most difficult to obtain here.”
…………………………………………………………………….Tara Parker-Pope

“a deep dichotomy between reason and irrationality can be seen in the world’s tremendous appetite for alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol is the liberator of the irrational. Caffeine is the stimulator of the rational. It would appear that the human spirit craves both poles and turns to these most familiar of drugs to achieve those ends.”
………………………………………………………………………………...Braun

The Science and love of Alcohol and Caffeine

Thanks be to God, since my leaving drinking of wine, I do find myself much better, and do mind my business better, and do spend less money, and less time lost in idle company.”
…………………………………………………………………….Samuel Pepys

By the early 1960s, though, something bigger was afoot than whether or not LSD was a truth drug. The public was discovering the wonders of the CIA’s brainwashing drugs, and attitudes towards hallucinogens in the United States were shifting.

The shift had resulted partly from the fateful chain of events set in motion in September 1952, when Robert Graves had alerted Gordon Wasson to the existence of teonanacatl, the ‘Flesh of God.’ This stage had culminated in 1957 with the publication of “The Discovery of Mushrooms that Cause Strange Visions” in Life magazine. That year, Graves visited Wasson in New York, and the two men spent an evening listening to a recording of Maria Sabina’s mushroom ceremony. This, wrote Graves, was “the most exciting event” of his stay in the United States.

On 31 January, 1960, the pair listened to the recording again, this time after they had eaten some mushrooms. Graves found the experience revelatory. A week later he wrote to Wasson that “this was not merely a red letter day but a day marked with all the colours of the rainbow.” The mushrooms, he said, had broken down the barriers in his consciousness with the result that “I am now able to see pictures in my mind far more clearly than I did before.” He concluded that the sacred mushrooms should be distributed across Europe and America. “Why reserve these drugs for the mentally sick?” he wrote. “They should be given to the mentally whole. Especially to poets and artists.”

Four months later he indulged again, this time taking synthetic psilocybin tables made by Albert Hofmann at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals. On 8 July, 1960, he reported to his friend William Sargant that the synthetic product did not compare favorably to the real thing. “Don’t be deceived,” he told the psychiatrist. “It has left out the magical principle and sends you to Coney Island not to Eden (like the other).”
…………………………………………………………………….Dominic Streatfeild

I took Peyote in the mountains of Mexico and I had a dose of it that lasted two or three days with the Tarahumara, and at the time those three days seemed like the happiest days of my life.

I had stopped tormenting myself, trying to find a reason for my life, and I had stopped having to carry my body around.

I realized that I was inventing life, that that was my function and rason d’etre, and that I suffered when my imagination failed, and Peyote gave it to me.”

…………………………………………………………………….Antonin Artaud

A note on Peyote.

“Wow, I have learned more in six hours than in the last sixteen years!”
…………………………………………………………Timothy Leary in a letter to Arthur Koestler

“I have been born again. I have just been through a psychiatric experience that has completely changed me. It was horrendous, I had to face things about myself that I never admitted. I was an utter fake, a self-opinionated bore, a know-all who knew very little.”
………………………………………………………………….Cary Grant

“…the young men have a rude health which runs into peccant humours. They drink brandy like water. They chew hasheesh….taste every poison….”
……………………………………………………………Emerson, Essay on English Traits

Why Marijuana?

“It makes you feel good, man. It relaxes you, makes you forget all the bad things that happen to a Negro. It makes you feel wanted, and when you’re with another tea smoker it makes you feel a special sense of kinship.”
…………………………………………………………………….Louis Armstrong

“Which is better: to have Fun with Fungi or to have Idiocy with Ideology, to have Wars because of Words, to have Tomorrow’s Misdeeds out of Yesterday’s Miscreeds?”
…………………………………………………………………….Aldous Huxley

“If alcohol is queen, then tobacco is her consort. It’s a fond companion for all occasions, a loyal friend through fair weather and foul. People smoke to celebrate a happy moment, or to hide a bitter regret. Whether you’re alone or with friends, it’s a joy for all the senses. What lovelier sight is there than that double row of white cigarettes, lined up like soldiers on parade and wrapped in silver paper?….I love to touch the pack in my pocket, open it, savor the feel of the cigarette between my fingers, touch the paper on my lips, the taste of tobacco on my tongue, love to watch the flame spurt up, love to watch it come closer and closer, filling me with its warmth.”
…………………………………………………………………….Luis Bunuel

“Intelligent people discussing interesting things in an intelligible manner. Quite a concept. Steele’s newsletter became Tatler, the first modern magazine; his idea of correspondents and sections provided the prototype for the modern newspaper, the one institution that all agree is essential for a vital democracy (London’s second oldest newspaper is Lloyds News, which began as a bulletin board in Lloyd’s Coffeehouse.) Small wonder that pamphleteers of the time wrote that “coffee and commonwealth came in together…..to make a free and sober nation.” Coffee-houses had made civilized conversation into a popular sport.”
…………………………………………………………………….Stewart Lee Allen

The Devils Cup

“It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects….Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished by beer, and the king does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be relied on.”
…………………………………………………………………….Frederick the Great

“For this sparkling outburst, there is no doubt that honor should be ascribed in part to the great event which created new customs and even modified human temperament-the advent of coffee….which brings forth the sparkle and the sunlight of truth.”
…………………………………………………………………….Michelet

“One need only compare the violent coffee-drinking societies of the West to the peace-loving tea drinker of the Orient to realize the pernicious and malignant effect that bitter brew has upon the human soul.”
…………………………………………………………………….Hindu dietary tract

“When the sweet Poison of the Treacherous Grape
Had acted on the world a general rape…..
Coffee arrives, that grave and wholesome liquor
That heals the stomach and makes the genius quicker.”
…………………………………………………………………….anonymous Puritan (1674)

Aside from sobering up the workplace, coffeehouses gave Brits an alternative to taverns in which to meet and talk. Taverns were not the safest place to discuss politics or religion. Everybody was armed or drunk, usually both, and proprietors sensibly discouraged heated discussions. Coffeehouses, on the other hand, encouraged political debate, which was precisely why King Charles II banned them in 1675 (he withdrew the ban in eleven days).

At breakfast Beethoven drank coffee, which he usually prepared himself in a percolator. Coffee seems to have been the nourishment with which he could least dispense and in his procedure with regard to its preparation he was as careful as the Orientals are known to be. Sixty beans to a cup was the allotment and the beans were often counted out exactly, Especially when guests were present.”

…………………………………………………………………….Anton Schindler

Dear Arthur,

Things are happening here which I think will interest you. The big, new, hot issue these days in many American circles is DRUGS. Have you been tuned in on the noise?

I stumbled on the scene in a most holy manner. Spent last summer in Mexico. Anthropologist friend arrived one weekend with a bag of mushrooms. Magic mushrooms. I had never heard of them, but being a good host joined the crowd who ate them. Wow! Learned more in six hours than in the past sixteen years. Visual transformations. Gone the perceptual machinery which clutters up our view of reality. Intuitive transformations. Gone the mental machinery which slices the world up into abstractions and concepts. Emotional transformations. Gone the emotional machinery that causes us to load life with our own role-ambitions and petty desires.

Came back to the USA and have spent last six months pursuing these matters. Working with Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg the poet. We believe that the synthetics of peyote (mescalin) and the mushrooms (psilocybin) offer possibilities for expanding consciousness, changing perceptions, removing abstractions.

For the person who is prepared, they provide a soul-wrenching mystical experience. Remember your enlightenments in the Franco prison? Very similar to what we are producing. We have had cases of housewives understanding, experiencing satori describing it –who have never heard of Zen.

There are inevitable political-sociological complications. The expected groups are competing to see who should control the new drugs. Medicine and psychiatry are in the forefront. Psychiatric investigators (hung up as they are on their own abstractions) interpret the experience as PSYCHOTIC- and think they are producing model-psychosis. Then too, the cops and robbers game has started. Organized bohemia (and don’t tell me it ain’t organized, with rituals as rigid as those of the Masoic order) is moving in. There is the danger that mescalin and psilocybin will go the way of marijuana ( a perfectly mild, harmless, slightly mind-opening substance, as you know). And of course the narcotics bureau hopes that it will go the same way–so they can play out their side of the control game.

We are working to keep these drugs free and uncontrolled. Two tactics. We are offering the experience to distinguished creative people. Artists, poets, writers, scholars. We’ve learned a tremendous amount by listening to them tell us what they have learned from the experience.

We are also trying to build these experiences in a holy and serious way into university curricula. I’ve got approval to run a seminar here–graduate students will take the mushrooms regularly and spend a semester working through, organizing and systematizing the results. Its hard for me to see how anyone can consider himself a theologian, psychologist, behavioral scientist if he had not had this experience.

So how does it sound? If you are interested I’ll send some mushrooms over to you. Or if you’ve already been involved I’d like to hear about your reaction. I’ll be in London around June 8th and would like to tell you more about the cosmic crusade.

The memory of our weekend last winter remains as an intellectual and emotional highspot.

………………………………………………………Best Regards to you,
………………………………………………………………..T.L

………………………………………………..from the Letters collection on Leary.ru
………………………………………………..also see Tim Leary Correspondence on Archive.org

~
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/LSD/stevens2.htm
http://www.socialfiction.org/?tag=graves

6 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    November 25, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Robert Graves: Fugitive (Laura Riding was a member), Bloomsbury (where he met A. Huxley) Poetry Professor at Oxford (early 60s)–where he advocated peyote-use. Bet he’s got something fun in that bag…

    Interesting to see that Letters is not only filled with drug-users, but drug-pushers (though some might be uncomfortable with this label) beginning with those associated with British Opium policy towards Asia…Graves, Huxley, Ginsberg…Do drugs (what kind of drugs?) help or inhibit creativity still a major question…

  2. poetryandporse said,

    November 26, 2009 at 1:00 am

    You’ve out donned the Am Po luvvie blogging as the one mind editorial executive, at log Squadramania – Woodman. Quote after quote ad libitum, there is a blog out there where a top dollar po-biz don of Pofo, Christopher – apprehending an idea and transposing it here

    luvvie luvvie

    Am Po airs in the upswing of a Bipo le la headache in Chingers mingers

    le le la

    gotta be good to be the ghost of

    $hare

    ..urgent, important and most importantly of all, asking that gotta know question, to be current, don $hare,

    I know a vois

    top dollar po-biz quack:

    ‘The big debate in Am Po at the moment is… whether Edwin Arlington Robinson is a modernist or not?’

    Whaddya say chaps? Totally groovy or a flop question to ask, especially when graves-as Brady comes on and ties up the dots into a watertight indictment of the whole wide clique of modern satanists swinging in the breeze H, er, sh sh sheh sure about it, shutting up the

    cha cha cha cha – ..reading this nineteen worder of pure

    Is it $here boss, what y’all is after

    lordy lordy

    laudnum purity

    in no way reflects

    cha cha cha cha.

    upon the probity and sincerity of me

    Into robbing The idea
    after-quote haunt one

    dons of ampo

    wanton

    doing New Am Po, reassuring us

    ‘don’t wanna take your children
    hang ’em upside down from a disco balcony when the moon floods
    and the rabbit-blood smeared, comes to life, asking you if

    if

    you know what it is,

    ‘that’

    che che che ching of a cheating honest bore stealing the ‘we’ do two ha ha dollars, working for top holler draw, inner era of a real DS don – that, is both me and Don

    yeah yeah y’all

    ..with only ha X marks a spot, hit it with fiodhrádh

    ‘wood utterance’

    with kind hearted words

    hit it

    DS,

    le la

    let me love you one more time, upright Donald be mine tonight, again Danann, auld ’em A Texas, dropping out at the flop

    ha ka ka ka

    ..all to a centre above everything else, in the absence of a soon to be New, dollar rare rocking po shit, norly out at sea, the Scene surfing out of reach, equation, rock ‘n roll, you know mister T bothering you about the dollar words of word magic, this and that lo-fi emo one who verbals H, meowing at the words of Demo dollar U$ ‘you’ double in space and rhyme – tine to posses the aul here here

    har har

    Sh!

    smith of The rosy Flarf, steering spam to a cut ‘n paste pick-up, you find flim-flam and puff-up in two dollar words: sixty and you gotta set of singular successes, wrapping back and forth – between double Space that behaves itself, wearing a helmut at the helm:

    Mister

    doesn’t the world looks so

    As/Is

    Avant guardianista – PC global ampo saint and quantum order, rationing the pattern above that street soft dollar run-in here today soil-knower: lend me your ears.

    The King of Am-po is about to appear here, shine up again the pretty US crocus before you became, several months ago, the Ancient ampo historian that, by Am Po standards, you know, quality control and correct in cultural mash-up, just who we gotta be to just all gerra long. Can it be, seriously, that there’s something out there beyond US

    ka ka ka

    ampo avant similicrum of the Real Thing –

    arty.

    SD – DS

    ..what the first rule in filíocht one came across, DS.

    here

    ..dollar blurbs fifty fifty the Screen-mean auditor’s appointment with lilly y’all word scene Arlington made when himself just like ‘you’ and me, DS. ‘I’ don’t know, and thought to ask someone acting, badly, who is the $cene Here: you know it nemesis, nom de gurre of Absence

    don’t you luvvie

    dons in moan

    ga ga ga ga

  3. poetryandporse said,

    November 26, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Arghh, you can take the above one down please chaps. It is shit. Don was only asking a question and I went off on one, because I cared about you guys, a helluva time ago now. Three, or was it four. Whatever it was, our summer of Love carries on and, to be honest, the gloop above is not me. Not really ‘me’ who is the real DS.

  4. poetryandporse said,

    November 26, 2009 at 1:26 am

    No, no. I would prefer it if our faux foe virtual romantic knights of the one true realm, within, bite elsehwere today tellers and tenders of comedic arts. The change is upon us and are time short: all we have to take and leave is love.

    Love is all there is and Poetry, for me, is not very important. In fact, if I am honest: i don’t even like it. Contemporary poetry bores me, old hatreds and arguing stiffs: was X better than the other 25, did Y cheat with outside help from some voice down the hall, cosmic plagarism, jism and tism, Jackie T of the one true T, two trials to progress and take fiftieth prize in the DIY Weekly gazzette. Has it come to this?

    Tell me through the agency of Derek Hines’ rendering of Gilgamesh to flight, who really cares about any of this listing protocol, but people who aren’t writing poetry?

    There comes a time when we must get beyond the theoretical challenge, of striking a pose and seeing how we feel, how the fantasy fits us after it filters down from the sun and into us quantum parts of energy radiating from a speck so dwarfed by the ratio of whatever it is we chase but never reach alive because life is just a name for what it is the energy manifests materially, as us the atomic people and US the crust and crumb of everything that we come from – mother Earth is US and us and them and everyone living. We all come from one source, are here because of whatever it is that makes the sun, beyond the reach of Man to know because we are not as clever as we sometimes lead ourselves to think we are.

    Poetry, contemporary poetry that is, has lost its way and has too many other ‘cool’ things to competed with. Watching TV for one. Science proved itself the key to cracking the material earth, and Art went up a cul-de-sac and is currently static, unable to advance in any direction which can compete with math, as a hobby. That is what I was told by a top dollar absence called instinct and talent making it happen as DS the sharer out of $ here

    ha

  5. thomasbrady said,

    November 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    My dear Swords,

    “Love is all there is and Poetry, for me, is not very important. In fact, if I am honest: i don’t even like it. Contemporary poetry bores me, old hatreds and arguing stiffs: was X better than the other 25, did Y cheat with outside help from some voice down the hall, cosmic plagarism, jism and tism, Jackie T of the one true T, two trials to progress and take fiftieth prize in the DIY Weekly gazzette. Has it come to this?

    Tell me through the agency of Derek Hines’ rendering of Gilgamesh to flight, who really cares about any of this listing protocol, but people who aren’t writing poetry?”

    This sounds like murmurings from the opium den. Your will is sapped. You ‘see through’ the angst/dogeatdog/B.S. and don’t care, as you loll on your couch sucking on the pipe. “Looooooove.”

    Ya, I’ve been there, too. Habitually I avoid the opium den, though…

    Contemporary poetry bores me, too–most of the time. It was rot in the mind before it was rot on the page. The analytic philosophers of LangPo think that rot in the mind becomes interesting when it gets to the page–the ‘text’ becomes something which they automatically find interesting, simply because it is ‘text.’ The ‘sign.’ The Freudian clue. Nothing’s bad because it’s a clue to something. But, really. If it begins as rot in the mind…

    You fix bad poetry with good philosophy. Bad philosophy is the cause of bad poetry.

    To weed out bad contemporary poetry takes more energy than the worth of the good that’s left. So the only recourse pobiz has is to feign an interest in bad poetry. This is why pobiz officials are a combo of pollyanna–with extreme impatience and irritation underneath.

    Avants use the word ‘experimental’ a lot, but I wonder if they even know how they are using that word?

    What is an experiment, anyway? Isn’t ALL poetry ‘language-experiment?’ An attempt at alchemy? A sonnet by Solomon Dunce is as ‘experimental’ as the intricasies of Pound or Olson or Zukovsky. An experiment requires a thing that’s stable and a thing that varies, right? We need to clear away the pretention in that court of inquiry.

    It sounds like you need some Rudyard Kipling to revive your spirits. Listen to what one Empire resident has to say of another:

    His extreme youth is indeed what I may call his window-bar–the support on which he somewhat rowdily leans while he looks down at the human scene with his pipe in his teeth: just as his other conditions (to mention only some of them), are his prodigious facility, which is only less remarkable than his stiff selection; his unabashed temperament, his flexible talent, his smoking-room manner, his familiar friendship with India–established so rapidly, and so completely under his control; his delight in battle, his “cheek” about women–and indeed about men and about everything; his determination not to be duped, his “imperial” fibre, his love of the inside view, the private soldier and the primitive man. I must add further to this list of attractions the remarkable way in which he makes us aware that he has been put up to the whole thing directly by life (miraculously, in his teens), and not by the communications of others. These elements, and many more, constitute a singularly robust little literary character (our use of the diminutive is altogether a note of endearment and enjoyment), which if it has the rattle of high spirits and is in no degree apologetic or shrinking, yet offers a very liberal pledge in the way of good faith and immediate performance. Mr. Kipling’s performance comes off before the more circumspect have time to decide whether they like him or not, and if you have seen it once you will be sure to return to the show. —Henry James

    There.

    That is true looooooove.

    I hope you’ll return to the show.

    Thomas

  6. poetryandporse said,

    November 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    A lot of self-declared ‘avant’ poets are embittered tightly wound tossers, with no visible sense of humour and who write twaddle, like the rest of the membership in their ‘advanced’ clubs do. Language Poetry has created a whole new strata of poetic society: the wholly ‘acadedmic’ poet. One who loves poetry, but cannot write it particularly well, and there being a lot of these types, unwilling or to face the fact of not being particularly gifted at ditty making, they huddle in their gangs and pass comment on each others work, inflating it and trying to raise the tepid lifeless drone, into canons that are pointless and unread buy all but themselves.

    The free market showing no interest in their work, confined to writing for an audience of people who are all in denial, what they have to say, is rarely written with the real fizz of – imbas – poetic energy in the compositional space of the imagination, because when you read it feels flat and dull. This means the academic who wrote it, feels dull and flat and a fake when they wrote it. They were just going through the motions of producing words that mean nothing and were not breathed into being by the mind in excitement, but one which is unexcited and consequently – unexciting.

    It is sad, for that lot, to decide at 15 to devote one’s life to poetry, find out at 28 that you are a bot boring and don’t have the natural ability of others writing the stuff everyone’s raving over, all but anonymous. But they soldier on and that’s why the 90% of self-declared verbal magicians, luvvies, are in huddles moaning and jealous of the people who are just happy practicing summat they have a natural ability for.