July 15, 2008


Salience on humour and meaning, from Mark Van Doren's introduction to Sandburg's Harvest Poems 1910-1960:
"Just as we cannot take a man seriously who lacks the sense of humor, so we cannot take the poet. Humor is the final sign and seal of seriousness, for it is proof that reality is held in honor and in love. The little poets whom the renaissance of more than forty years ago swept into oblivion were first of all unreal; their poems were not about anything that matters; and so their feelings--the ones they said they had--failed to be impressive. They had no genuine subjects."

Sandburg writes much about the new skyscrapers of Chicago being lifted, lifting the city, Chicago built and rebuilt in Windy City and Good Morning, America--in those poems, they are valiant and triumphant--their triumph is in the toil and labor as much as it's symbolic progress and modernity. The night I got home JR pointed out that the glowing tower that got bigger while I was gone, the thing I would fall asleep looking at every night since it came twinkling into view this early spring--is, in fact, the Trump Tower. Since then I have kept the right side curtain of my room pulled on it. I liked it better when I thought it was a very tall parking structure or that twirling building that'll be the tallest in the world. I don't know why the building having a name and identity changes my feelings about looking at it; the toil of leather handed men, and building something very tall in 1928 was progress, now I think that continual triumph is harbinger of ruin--but maybe it's just a building.

Posted by Jessica at July 15, 2008 09:32 AM | TrackBack