Put Your Finger On It: Mercurial Humor


The following excerpts from an essay, “Ron Padgett and the Postmodern Sublime“:

The comedy and imagination of a poet like Ron Padgett represents not an answer to whatever it is that is the postmodern condition, but a possible means of survival. And though I’m as tired of the term postmodernism as the next guy, I’m using it frequently here as a loosely historical period because I believe that Padgett is an historical poet, one for the books, as they say. This is also to say I want to speak in the language of a critic about a poet who deserves more criticism in my opinion than he has been afforded. …

The unattainable, or the not yet attained, plays a significant role in the postmodern sublime in that it is structurally similar to the fetish, in which the end goal or Idea is not ultimately what is desired but rather the constancy of being near that threshold. The postmodern sublime represents a moment when the end goal is no longer sought out, when Lacan’s objet a is momentarily forgotten. …

So, if Padgett is to put anything together, it will be on his own strange and bizarre terms. His project is not all-out fragmentation, but instead a way to deal with the parts of a world without having to arrange them in any perfect way.

–Excerpts from “Ron Padgett and the Postmodern Sublime” by Clay Matthews in H_NGM_N


Aggh, did I just hear a brand new Modest Mouse song on WFUV? Where’s my “notification”, Brian?

Responses to “Put Your Finger On It: Mercurial Humor”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    January 24th, 2007 at 4:07 am eWhere is it said to be now? Postmod but chafing?…post-postmod?..
    ..neomod? (I don’t think anything’s there yet, or arts would want
    that)…stateless but not average?
    I eat what I like of it, but I see the effect and know
    how my faves flick the edges to self-organization within.
    A Delandean exploitation for self-exploration. Not sure that
    is what it all is about. I ask concrete questions, but wet concrete
    questions. When the poem reads you, what do you call it?
    I am non-localized; feeling and logic are all-one by being
    dynamic, reactive, shells of environments, not static.
    I feel the stuff I like as enzymes, as fulcrums, not places of things.
    Is that what it is to others? There is function in the animal.
    Can we name it for purpose? I could, but are my purposes
    those others ride? My art surprises even me: it makes itself
    sometimes. What are we all doing, or is this just my trip?


AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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