Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mike, Myshkin, Milosz

This just in from Michael Heller,
Dear Eric,

I done something wrong--tried to use the blog response page and it went blank on me. I probably typed too much. So I'm going the old-fashioned way.

Interested in Myshkin2's invoke of Milosz. This summer I read Donald Davie's little book on him, Czeslaw Milosz and the Insufficiency of Lyric and found this operative passage, which may key into some of the sacred-secular discussions on ABJB. "...'the sacral,' we might say, so long as it is experienced only in discontinuous moments of illumination, is being short-changed--either it informs the whole of our experience, or else it has no firm purchase on any part of it. The lyrical 'moment' cedes the initiative to that non-lyrical continuum from which it is, confessedly an exception. Milosz will not strike that bargain..." (58) This citation seems to lie athwart the problems of the sacred-secular nexus, the esoteric/exotic use of lore one is not fully committed to in the theological sense, for instance. But it also paradoxically modifies the direction by which what is "sacred" is to be understood (see the essay I just sent you). Anyway, I throw this out to be kicked around.



Exigent Futures: New and Selected Poems (2003) and Uncertain Poetries: Selected Essays (2005)
available from Salt Publishing at and at both regular and online bookstores.
For a survey of work, poems, essays, prose, go to:
Mike also sent me a copy of his piece for the SJC/RP volume, which I'll blog about as soon as I can. Classes started this week--a busy time, as you all know. One thing I notice right off the bat with Mike's piece, though: lots of discussion of Bialik. Very welcome, this: we in the States need to season our discussion of "Jewish poetry" with more Hebraic and Israeli spice. I must say, though, that the more I hear about the way the sacred intersects (or lurks within) the secular, the more I want to reverse the claim, to spot the secular lurking where the sacred claims to be--or, at least, to take a strictly functionalist approach to claims about "the sacred," whatever they might be.

(By which I mean what, you ask? More soon--)

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