EPUB EBook by Gilbert Sorrentino
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Gilbert Sorrentino, in an essay on the poetry of Marianne Moore, castigates her verse for deliberately avoiding an exploration of the American experience; that is, that she eschews the American experience for what she wishes to believe is the American experience, and hides in “safe poems” behind the mask of the Eccentric Aunt.Because she fears to scratch past that first layer.Because beneath that first layer is an America that is rotten, desperate, cruel, and depleted.Because under the skin America’s heart is in a state of total decay and collapse and corruption, and we shouldn’t use our arts to hide that fact.It’s the most obvious aspect of our lives here.Our arts need to needle right into that fact.Rimbaud is much more a poet to Sorrentino’s liking than Miss Moore.Rimbaud, who wonders whether a garden of roses is worth even one dropping from a seagull.This is all paraphrase.I’m working from memory.Apologies for all errors.
Sorrentino certainly couldn’t be accused of running away from the venality of this American life- his writing plunges right in.Even in this slim masterpiece, inspired by Rimbaud’s famous hotel built in the opening pages of the Illuminations (the hotel raised in the polar night après le déluge), as well as the poem “Voyelles” (where the vowels are attributed colors and characteristic associations), Sorrentino keeps it local and acerbic.And how else but with the alphabet to confront the dying language?So each grapheme gets a page, or two, or three, A to Z, for Sorrentino to wind associations from Rimbaud to General Aupick to William Carlos Williams to Delaware heifers to the paint flecks on small town churches to Heroin with the big H to baseball to fishing to war-waging politicians to Green the peaceful color and Yellow the color of love to black biting flies to brown cannibalistic rats to the importance of art to the failings of art to the wasted streets of Bel Aire, Indiana (does such a town even exist?it doesn’t matter) and on and on...
You want an American who writes without illusions and with full awareness of the inevitable artifice yet extreme importance of the creative mind and its works?Read Sorrentino.This one ain’t a bad place to start.
“It is all the sea, endlessly moving, endlessly the same.”
Like this book? Read online this: Women and the American Experience, Socialist History Journal Issue 16.
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