Friday, December 4, 2009

Quote of the Day

[George Oppen's] work exemplifies Blake's call to make "Mental Flight": a critique, an examination, a readiness to experience the ruptures and possibilities of place and time. A skeptical wariness combined with a kind of fervent hope-- beyond reasonableness but not beyond reason. This might be summed up by Octavio Paz speaking about Republican Spain and its "desperate hopefulness. The memory will never leave me. Anyone who has looked Hope in the face will never forget it. He will search for it everywhere he goes." I think of Oppen and his choices in the 1930s, and then all his later work, as searching for hope wherever he goes bu never imagining it was there when it was not: the work is investigative, not elf-deceived. He showed the importance of that "Mental Fight," with a muted critique by citation of Pound and an allusion to the Museum of Modern Art and what it represents of modernist aestheticization, perhaps, or the separation of the artwork from its context. "I am a man of the Thirties//'No other taste shall change this'." But the world being what it is, the condition of "Mental Fight" seems permanent.-- Rachel Blau DuPlessis, "'Uncannily in the open': In Light of Oppen"

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