“Limited vision” is the answer — without limited vision one is very unlikely to have any career at all in modern American poetry!



Let us offend the theme-haters and push ahead with our theme.

What is the one wrong against which we should all be united? What is the common root, the common denominator, the one thing that characterizes all of the following items?

1. The banning, deleting, and oppression on poetry sites;
2. The genteel racism of the Fugitive/New Critics;
3. Fashionable writing methods such as: ‘show, don’t tell, write what you know, find your voice;’
4. Manifestos of all kinds;
5. Tyrants and dictators of all kinds;
6. Theories and beliefs of all kinds;
7. Snobbery of all kinds;

The answer: Limits.

The tyrant seeks to place limits on others, from outright killing and imprisoning to censoring and blocking communication to sowing expectations of certain kinds of conformist behavior.

Needless to say, for this reason I am not now writing a radical treatise.

The Imagist is limited by his imagism; the conservative, Southern writer is defined by limits of place; the New Critical theorist is limited by a focus on text; the ethnic or multi-cultural critic is limited by race; the ‘show, don’t tell’ creative writing teacher limits in terms of showing, not telling; the lang-po limits by a blinkered focus on language-use; the Marxist critic sees only class; the Art’s for Art’s Sake critic is limited by aesthetics, and so on.

Ironically, because of the pluralisms of the ‘limiters’ listed above, the sin of imposing limits is the only sin which escapes censorship–since it ‘participates’ in the multitude of competing limiters!

Shouldn’t we seek universally to question ALL those who impose limits and bans, rather than gravitating to various cliques and niches which thrive by imposing limits?

Are not renaissance eras of unprecedented creative activity characterized by precisely this? Should we not seek to be renaissance artists, to be artists of universal value, such as Da Vinci and Poe, rather than narrow, thin-skinned manifesto-ists and nose-in-the-mud administrators?

Would you rather brawl in a tavern with Marlowe, or obey the precepts of Travis Nichols?

This is no mere libertarian tract, either, for to indulge in freedom and license for its own sake is another kind of limit.

If I must place before my readers a principle, it would be this:

Never ignore morals or borders or limits, but assimilate and embrace as many of them as possible. Do not jettison the concern of the New Critic, or the moralist, or the Marxist, rather integrate their concerns; never fall into a negating spirit, for negation is a physical necessity of the eyeballing painter, but a foolish indulgence for the THINKER.

I understand the principle of this treatise is broad, but surely IS IT NOT THIS PRINCIPLE which informs the scorn of the genius for the mere pedant, and the protest of the charismatic participant of the ‘on line’ poetry site banned by the bloodless, administrative hacks?

Thomas Brady

1 Comment

  1. cowpattyhammer said,

    September 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    If you post your comment on the article on the homepage instead of here it will be much more visible.