Thursday, October 26, 2006


Ray Davis, on the excellent Pseudopodium – a site which has more good reading than most municipal libraries – put up a lovely post last month on Ruskin's Fors Clavigera that's one of the most thoughtful assessment of the grim one's proto-blog that I've ever read. Which isn't to say that I agree with it entirely – perhaps I have a higher tolerance for ranting & bad-tempered quarrelling. Or maybe because I'm reading the thing on a five-year plan, its frequent shortcomings aren't as apparent to me. I think I'd want it on the proverbial desert island, but I sure as hell wouldn't want Fors & nothing else – at least not after the first month.

The only person I know who ever consistently linked Pound & Fors was another lively stylist, Guy Davenport, & like so many of Guy's insights that linkage is striking & apt but doesn't bear pressing too hard.
Re-reading Geraldine Monk's Interregnum (Creation Books, 1993), & well embarked on Peter Riley's Passing Measures: A Collection of Poems (Carcanet, 2000). Sound files of both of these poets can be found on Andrea Brady's very exciting Archive of the Now; go check out all the cool stuff.


Ray Davis said...

Thank you for the very kind words, Mark.

While on the subject of affect, I should note that my post's unusually aggressive tone was influenced by both its subject and its dedicatee, and that I'm counting on it being balanced by the more straightforwardly positive takes which have been offered by you and others.

Certainly, I don't regret having read all eight volumes. Even if I don't consider Fors a successful objet d'art, as the artifact of a conscious, difficult, and principled life change it's left a vivid impression.

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