D. E. Steward

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Altogether the poem is the poem, but also a declaration

“The moment rises like a suspended blade”  (George Seferis, “Pantoum”)

And as we read any assertion, just so poetry can be evaluated

Poetic organization of words may induce emotion but they are first written words

In the glare of ambiguity or otherwise

And no exclusion is reasonable 

Within the credenda and miranda of literary culture, poetics is a deep, assured theology

 Hung there as a flank of literacy’s schema

That New Criticism was reaction to both inter-war international communism and whacko Freudian mayhem, an attempt to dodge both those honey pots so as to keep the plywood niches safe for embedded academic tenurites

Of course the critical consensus has moved way past that and literary culture is broadening further as it fractures and heaves upslope and then down around us

The expansive new enabling technology coming in as if from on high

Pixilated and otherwise

E-books and dwarsliggers

“Many a man lives a burden to the Earth; but a good Booke is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm’d and treasur’d up on purpose to a life beyond life.”  (John Milton, Aeropagitica)

With books a great deal easier to find and to effect now than in Milton’s era, or in any pre-pdf period

Print on demand confounding the media industry of publishing house and agency marketers working, mingling, lunching on site

Like ants fussing testily around a disrupted nest trying to reorganize their systems

As ant colonies go for survival and perhaps expansion

Trade publishers go for profit

However they wrangle it now

Print is print

Language organized and laid out in permanence

Online publishing to paper, becoming a micro-analogy single-payer health care 

Very difficult to change the procedure of print to do it, to ease all those freshly useless office workers out of their gainful slog

And the tie-ins and reviews, the reps, so much of the business to go derelict as it vacates to online production and marketing

Already far fewer slim, monothematic $27.95 novels whose authors who suffered exploitive indignities and diminutions while scrambling for publication

The schema now is those old balanced house lists of proven sellers, celeb tie-ins, and help yourselfers if nobody else will

The best these days are intense bibliomemoirs

"You write in order to give something to someone else"  (Umberto Eco)

Good books subsided by quantities of modish tell-alls and solipsistic narratives of self-administered psychotherapies

“…people have convinced themselves that what matters is psychic self-improvement: getting in touch with their feeling, eating health food, taking lessons in ballet or belly dancing, immersing themselves in the wisdom of the East, jogging, learning to ‘relate,’ overcoming the fear of pleasure.’”  (Christopher Lasch already a long time ago)

Intensifying as impersonality shrouds down into a self-realization outlet mall of gestalt therapy, New Consciousness, est, bioenergetics, pendulum dowsing, Rolfing, tai chi, Esalen, pot, modern dance, Silva Mind Control, More House, astrological enhancement and social betterment, Arica, sex therapy, Bikram Yoga, meditation, feline conjunction, Reichian therapy, bio-dynamic massage, Spurenelemente, Gratitude Yoga, and more and more flat-stomach questing self-absorption

Rationality left for the subtle and the earnest

Idea fixating, vastly serious, querying Christopher Lasch, youthfully blond there in 1950s Williamstown

At the same time there precociously wise George Steiner lurked mildly and mysteriously mitteleuropäisch even with his gray slacks and brass-buttoned blazer

They were magic

Steiner asserting in one Sunday evening talk on the Holocaust he gave to the interested, that German could no longer ever again employ the word Ofen, a famous assertion later published in his classic Language of Silence,

“The intellectual debility of contemporary conservatism is indicted by its silence on all important matters.”  (Lasch)

Reason for real

With print the principle medium

An earnest and weighty truism is that any book worth reading should bend the mindset

Intellectual absorption for the curious

Distraction is for the inattentive

Diversion for the aimless 

Amusement for the listless

Words are what they say they are

“‘Cause I got hoes so many fucking hoes)
Callin’ a young nigga phone
(Ring-ring, ring, ring-ring, ring, ring-ring)
Where’s Ali with the (bitch with the) mo’fuckin’
dope? (huh)
I be ballin’ like a mo’fuckin’ pro (like a mo’fuckin pro)
I be ballin’ like my nigga Mo (Bamba, Bamba)”  
– (Sheck Wes,“Mo Bamba”)  

(In the year since that track, “Mo Bamba” was uploaded… it has grown,
largely via word of mouth, from a regional internet curio to a surefire
party-starter and tastemaker’s favorite, scoring Fashion Week events and
Instagram posts by Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquille O’Neal and Hailey Baldwin. ­– New York Times, 4ix18)

Like last decade’s pompero

Lassitude’s an attitude and many in quiet times must have lived in a static state of anomie

“Each man his own mule”  (Clive James)

All the way out and back


D. E. Steward mainly writes months with 389 of them to date. Most of them are published, as is much of his short poetry. Five volumes of his months came out last year as Chroma.