Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sitting at Home Minding My Own Business

In his "Manifesto of the Flying Mallet" in the Feb. 2009 issue of Poetry, Michael Hofmann writes:

[Poetry's] only cavalry is the reader, and there’s only one of him or her, sitting at home minding his or her own business, without a horse to hand, or a thought of you.

Which reminds me of the end of Kafka's "A Message from the Emperor," as Hofmann calls the story in his translation:

No one can make his way through there, much less with a message from a dead man. — But you, you will sit at your window and dream of it, as evening falls.

[And as I type in this little note I wrote the other day, this comes to mind.]


In the "Eight Manifestos" in that issue of Poetry (of which Hofmann's is one), I also particularly enjoyed those by Charles Bernstein, A. E. Stallings, and D. A. Powell. Here are two good bits from Powell's:

But most of what makes a school truly interesting is what others say about it; not what it says about itself.

They [artists] want to belong to the outside, and yet to be recognized by the inside.

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