I thought memes had gone out of fashion on the internets, but I’ve just gotten tagged by none other than Ron S. as a “Thinking Blogger,” & while I’m of course flattered by the mention, I’m a bit depressed by how he describes me: “Mark Scroggins, a scrupulous literary scholar who doesn’t take short cuts even in his blog.” Oh well, farewell to my cherished self-image of jaunty, effervescent bons mots, of quicksilver connections & startling juxtapositions. Meet my next avatar: Professor Microscope Drudge. Ain’t that sexy?
(& I do write poems...)
Just for the record, my own five “Thinking Bloggers” (remembering that to my mind “thinking” covers a hell of a lot more than Dupinesque ratiocination or Cartesian headaching): Michael Peverett, Kate Greenstreet, Josh Corey, Juliana Spahr, & John Latta.
In the midst of a veritable s––tstorm of grading, but snatching the rare moment to read a few more pages into a handful of books. Right now, the snazzy juxtaposition of Ruskin’s Aratra Pentelici: Six Lectures on the Elements of Sculpture (1871) & Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1993). Odd that both books take the form of lecture series – Ruskin’s a real live course deliver’d at Oxford during Michaelmas Term 1870, McCloud’s a virtual classroom in which a cartoonish reduction of the author hisself lectures us from panel to panel. Both fellas have bigger fish to fry than their immediate subjects, of course: like all of his JR’s late works, Aratra Pentelici is as much about national morals & the ethics of art as it is about a given medium, while SM’C manages to give us a potted global theory of all the arts. A tall order, given that he’s simultaneously trying to defend a medium that gets (or got more often back in ’93) dismissed as the happy hunting ground of spotty teenagers. More later.
One of my two or three favorite English poets, Peter Riley, has a fascinating interview on the Greek website Poeticanet, where he promises to get around to talking about the genealogy of contemporary BritPoetry but never quite gets thru the ‘Sixties. Fascinating nonetheless, especially in his discussion of the modernist poetics of WS Graham & Dylan Thomas.