"Samuel Beckett, the creator of more than one flatulent character, when asked about his ambitions once replied: 'All I want to do is sit on my arse and fart and think about Dante.'"
One might suppose that reading dozens of literary reviews weekly might be conducive to all sorts of reactions, but that line of thought is surely a cul-de-sac. Rather, better to take the high road and press on to Joyce Carol Oates's review of Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life by Philip Davis in the Dec. 21-28 TLS, for the following interesting tidbit on the pitfalls of the biographer:
"In the preface ... Davis quotes the notorious remarks of Sigmund Freud on the futility of the biographical enterprise: 'Anyone turning biographer has committed himself to lies, concealment, to hypocrisy, to flattery, and even to hiding his own lack of understanding, for biographical truth is not to be had, and even if it were it couldn't be useful.' Such an irrational outburst leads one to wonder what Freud was desperate to conceal from biographers, and whether he succeeded ..."
Freud and his talking cure have long been discredited, despite or, perhaps, because of its many successes; Oates's little diatribe, of course, prompts the reader to wonder how such "an irrational outburst leads one to wonder what" Oates was desperate to conceal about the futility of the reviewing enterprise. Extending this logical progression of thought with a mighty Aquinian (as opposed to Kierkegaardian) leap, one might actually come to posit that Freud was, in his notably prescient way, commenting on the blogging enterprise of the early 21st century and its futility.
Under every rock, a post-modern observation lurks, it would seem.
So, enough of what I do when not reading poetry, posting letters, laying out new issues, and thinking about Dante. More selections of poetry have been added to the Back Issue Archive; there are now 14 back issue samplings up online, with over 80 poems. More samples, of course, are posted every week in this blog, so there are now well over 100 poems from the past 18 years of Lilliput Review online, with more to come. This week's selections come from #135, pictured above. As a lover of the short poem, I've an unhealthy fascination for the one line poem and, even more narrowly, perhaps, and even more life threateningly, the one word poem. Among the selections below is one of my favorites ...
Just before spring
the war begins
but - ignorant -
the pink blossoms
their tiny fists
The year comes to an
end, another begins. Still
it is not finished.
Each that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon,
some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
Here's to peace in 2008.
Best till then,