Tuesday, October 05, 2004
1st few pages of Death on the Installment Plan by Céline, the overworked dr fulminating at the indecent idea that someone needs medical help when he's tired, grouse grouse, but he goes anyway. the old softie. okay, so he aint the dr in The Plague. WCW tells of taking moments between patients to type poems, snatching them, one might say, from the busy day. Céline, you can imagine him using such time to blister the patients he had, the day he had, the life he has. his day is so wind up, or he so wound up within it, that when he writes, he releases the spring. just a guess but I think there's a distance in Céline. not that he aint saying fuck, and he probably meant whatever anti-semitism and such (I haven't hit any of that yet). I think of Rimbaud's world as imagined, and Burroughs's as crazed. dunno if I can fairly make that distinction. as intense as Rimbaud's hell is, it seems imaginatively controlled (imagine a ?question mark? after every statement I make here). whereas Burroughs rides a crazed vision. 'his' aliens and government are external in a way I think similar to Spicer's sense of aliens. I sense so far with Céline a cathartic energy in his writing. I think catharsis is overrated in writing. one must make a furious commitment to catharsis to make anything beyond a corny exaltation of one's opinion. I think you have to be a real shithead to get far using catharsis as an underlying principle in your art. Bukowski. but maybe Picasso too. I dunno. the confessional poets seem largely placcid and controlled, except for Berryman. Berryman's bad drunk snarl (as well his weeping in his whisky) is more engaging than the pampered confessions of Lowell. the confessional poets largely use their terrible lives, often to the point of creepiness (Lowell and the letters of his soon ex wife) . I guess it's more interesting when the lives use the poets, à la Berryman and Burroughs. both of whom act as barometres for their internal weather. anyway, my impression.