Monday, January 02, 2006

The Dialogue Continues

This just in, by late-night owl, from Norman:
Klingons aside, Geworfenheit is Heidegger's term for our state of "having been thrown" into existence, which as I understand it (especially via Hans Jonas in The Gnostic Religion) always involves loss and decenteredness. Bloom uses the term in translation, via Jonas, as well.

The kind of Jewishness we've been wrestling with, aside from its gnostic flavoring, certainly is related to that kind of disconnectedness. For Heidegger the solution is opening oneself to Being; perhaps for us, it's returning to the Law, which, as ribboni, we can't manage. So again, our poetry must remain adrift and diasporic. Of course, I'm open to alternatives...

Otherwise, I totally agree with you about investigating nostalgia. I think we can even speak of the uses of nostalgia, which may apply to some of my work. And yes, that's where Keats and Stevens may be too. So am I in good company or what?

Happy trails...
Well, now! What to do with this? I suppose one alternative would be to imagine some third course between "opening oneself to Being" (whatever that means--sounds pleasantly intrusive, in manner of Dan Savage invitation!) and "returning to the Law."

(By the way, is that a metaphorical or metonymic way to refer to "returning to God," in manner of ba'al teshuvim of every denomination, or is it a figure for some more social practice, like returning to the fold whether or not a Shepherd is nearby? Or does it have to do with frames of reference, so that as long as the poem's primary source-text remains canonical--Talmud or Tanakh, let's say--you have "returned" enough not to be "disconnected"?)

Anyway, as I was saying, is there really no such a thing as a secular secularity for Jews, a Jewish version of, say, Frank O'Hara's stance? Or are we now saying that O'Hara is a sacramental, Catholic poet? (Paging Peter O'Leary!)

In any case, I'd like to investigate those "uses of nostalgia" comparatively, posing Norman's work either against itself--it changes, in tone and idea, from poem to poem and often within individual pieces--or against some other texts. Let's see... something from Charles Bernstein? From Arielle Greenberg's My Kafka Century? (More on which anon.) Suggestions would be mighty welcome, folks. Please pass them along.


1 comment:

myshkin2 said...

I feel a bit awkward (& perhaps presumptuous) entering these unparted waters. But would Milosz be helpful in any ways--as an example of "diasporic & adrift" as well as one who demonstrates Geworfenheit (if that works grammatically)...and as one who actively investigates nostalgia (a poem like "For NN," for example? Also, Milosz as a sacramental poet who is only sometimes Catholic--and then not especially when he's being sacramental. I'm glad that Hans Jonas was brought in to the discussion, because that clarifies a lot--for someone like me is so far from even imagining what a "return to the law" would be like. Ditto for "writing from the law!" Sorry if I'm lowering the level of discourse here.