Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Prisoners of Love: Poetry and the Stockholm Syndrome

If we stopped loving every poem we love because of the mysteriousness (and even confoundedness) of its creator, we'd have very little left to love indeed.

So I have been baffled by Bill Knott's apparent --and I think fairly recent -- identification with a sociological slice of poetry (and official poetic culture) that would seem to exclude someone of his temperament and sensibility almost by definition.

This doesn't mean that I am willing to turn my back on his poems, in some equally perverse fit of aesthetic cleansing.

It resembles an instance of the Stockholm Syndrome, this strange longing (shared, at one time or another, by most poets) to sign up with that which would wrack us with its torpid indifference.

This is an odd sort of valentine, I know, but it is one nevertheless.


AB said...


This is the great problem of enjoying the work of living writers. It would not be so convenient, however, if we all died.

So warts and all, I guess.


Rachel Loden said...


Just so. Of course Knott tried to solve this problem by writing posthumously.

As good a solution as any. If a car can be pre-owned, perhaps a poet should be predeceased.