11 November 2008

Harold Bloom the Postmodern

The sad truth is that poems don't have presence, unity, form, or meaning. Presence is a faith, unity is a mistake or even a lie, form is a metaphor, and meaning is an arbitrary and now repetitious metaphysics. What then does a poem possess or create? Alas, a poem has nothing, and creates nothing. Its presence is a promise, part of the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Its unity is in the good will of its reader. Its form is another version of the inside/ouside metaphor of the dualizing Post-Cartesian West, which means that form in poetry is always merely a change in perspective. Finally, its meaning is just that there is, or rather was, another poem. A poem is a substitution for a lost first chance, which pragmatically means for another poem. Substitution, whatever it becomes in life, is in poetry primarily a rhetorical process, which returns us to the primacy of the trope.
//Harold Bloom, Kabbalah and Criticism (p. 122)
Turns out, I kinda dig what Harold Bloom as to say about poetry. In the end, he sounds a lot like one of those whack-o po-mo deconstructionists.

Who knew?


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