Monday, March 30, 2009

"So Much Depends on What You Mean by Failure"

"But assuming that the aim of rhetoric is to establish a connection between language and reality, this is rhetoric of the highest order--the rhetoric in the word itself. This is risky business, and it may explain to a large extent why when Dr. Williams fails he falls flat on his face. Depending on no artifice, he has no artifice behind which to conceal his failures to complete realization."
--Mary Ellen Solt, "WCW: Poems in the American Idiom" (13)

"147: The failure of Williams to go beyond his work of Spring and All and the Great American Novel seems to verify Bergmann's assertion that nominalism inevitably tends towards (deteriorates into?) representationalism."
--Ron Silliman, "The Chinese Notebook"

"[Marianne Moore] thought Williams' intention to find a redeeming language had been woefully sidetracked--Williams answered brilliantly that if the close of Paterson contained its own failure, that was because the very grounds of the search had implied a failure (indeed the whole American experience as he had lived though it had demonstrated over and over a tendency, a proclivity, toward failure). 'If the vaunted purpose of my poem seems to fall apart at the end,' he was willing to concede to Moore, 'it's rather frequent that one has to admit an essential failure.' In fact, what better strategy to assert the need for a redeeming language--a language that would reveal ourselves to ourselves--but 'by stating our failure to achieve it'?"
--Paul Mariani, A New World Naked (614)

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home