Finally caught up with ModPo by plugging in my netbook in the kitchen. Quite difficult to hear Al, Amarise, Emily, Molly, and the gang – they feel like old friends now – over the sizzling, splashing sounds of cooking dinner and washing up. Admittedly this isn’t model student behaviour but at least I’m up to date.
I will definitely return to the poems of Frank O’Hara and John Ashberry after ModPo and I loved Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Bernadette Mayer.
Moving on from the New York poets to the ‘Language’ poets, I’m struggling somewhat although I did enjoy Ron Silliman’s Albany, Bob Perelman’s Chronic Meanings and, especially, Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson.
As for Jackson Mac Low, I agree with another ModPo person, Dan Flath, who has commented on one of the ModPo discussion forums that he can imagine himself enjoying participating in one of Jackson Mac Low’s happenings but that he finds the instructions more interesting than the poetry itself. Dan Flath goes on to question whether Mac Low is a poet or a philosopher.
Another commenter on the forums, Rachel Loosemoore, has said that the poets in this section of the course (John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, Jena Osman and Joan Retallack) “are doing a great job of removing our pre-conceived notions about poetry construction, language, and meaning”. I suppose that is true for many of us but I’m left feeling disgruntled and not satisfied after engaging with much of the poetry in this section.
One thing for sure, this is certainly a fascinating course and I’m learning so much.
Meanwhile, I’m off to bed with Ted Hughes’ letters. I wonder if he would’ve signed up for ModPo?