Thursday, May 24, 2007

Currently reading...Heart of the Breath/Jim Brodey, The City Visible/anthology, Allegrezza & Bianchi, eds., Notebook of a Return to a Native Land/Aime Cesaire, trans. Clayton Eshleman, The Collected Poems/Octavio Paz, Anne Sexton/The Complete Poems

Sexton once explained, ‘I'm hunting for the truth. It might be a kind of poetic truth, and not just a factual one, because behind everything that happens to you, there is another truth, a secret life.’ Though many people, consciously or unconsciously, resist treating Sexton as an intellectual (a fact that has something to do with her high school education and early self-image as ‘a buried self’ who only knew how to ‘diaper babies and make white sauce’), her incessant drive to uncover ‘another truth’ has everything to do with the cycle described by Wittgenstein: ‘When you bump against the limits of your own honesty it is as though your thoughts get into a whirlpool, an infinite regress: You can say what you like, it takes you no further.’ Sexton's poetry is fixated on this language-game: she was, I think, both totally seduced by the Oedipal narrative of discovering ‘the awful truth,’ and totally aware of the impossibility of such a venture.”

—Maggie Nelson

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