Thursday, February 16, 2006


JH: That Keats' lost works have been written by our collective interest is a very interesting notion - when thinking of an author we don't instantly and simultaneously read his or her collected works which appear in our minds upon thinking of the author's name, but rather an idea we've formed, individually, but also from collective views, of the author and the works. There is a lot of invention in this, and perhaps something has been created via collective attention. So what is confirmation of completion - how do we know if a literary work exists if it is part of an unwritten flux? Or, more terrestrially, is there really an Emily Dickinson, a poet existing outside of literary history, or is she part of the game? Does working with words automatically put a poet in literary history, no matter how much of an outsider the body of work seems to be? Is there such a thing as an invisible writer? What would an especially (I won't say "completely", though that was my first choice) visible author look like? John Dryden? Racine? How would an especially visible author be defined? Perhaps as an author who keeps in the established (long-established) literary track, with just enough individual personality to add some shine? The same old same old, glorious or otherwise, with a bit of gleam to it? Is that gleam from an individual personality solely, or could it be from a piece of Literature laid bare?

AHB: Whoop! Great questions, possibly unanswerable. Ego involvement being what it is. The authors are in Eternity, which is on Mars, but damn if they aint got a beacon up there. “Beacon from Mars” is the title of a song and album by a 60s group Kaleidoscope, all but forgot no doubt, or unknown by those who of a certain age or attention or whatever, which fact then becomes tributary to the idea of any artist having a hold on anything. about all I know of Chinese literature comes from the T'ang dynasty, which is a criminally limited view, I know, and yet we're all stuck within our limits. But is that erasure? I have intentionally not learned any Chinese languages (not to say I wouldn't like to) nor have I applied myself assertively to Chinese literature (not that I wouldn't like to), yet I am aware of a literary mass there and every other where that I've not explored. And even where I have, the depths, the depths. Myths are like collective dreams. Literature and the arts seem to be dreams of a more limited collective. We assume myths (or they assume us). I don't mean we all believe myths, but accept them as existing in the world. Literature we work at, a conscious path. Or at least somewhat conscious, and somewhat a path. There is, at any rate, so much out of the art's hands, in how the art is made, disseminated and taken in. and so in closing I just want to say, I'm out of my depth. I've been doing conversations with some visual pieces I've done. The life of the work (each one, not just the 'good' ones) comes startlingly alive. That says a lot to me.


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