Saturday, 24 September 2011

Letting Dante read Petronius

Letting Dante read Petronius,  e'en old Ez realized
Every Canto's contango is but Belief backwardized
As a virus made the Dutch tulip precious
The Wireless, Beauty more infectious.


10 comments:

  1. i am a big fan of good poetry, thankyou for giving me material to read :)

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  2. @aaleen
    What a very nice thing to say!
    Thank you.

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  3. Arre Ustadji, what has happened to you? Normally, when you write a senseless couplet you claim to be translating Ghalib.
    Dante reading Petronius? A quick search on the web confirms Dante didn't read Petronius.
    Okay, if your 'old Ez' is Ezra Pound and you are referring to the Cantos then, yes, both Petronius and Dante figure- BUT there is no evidence that Pound is 'letting Dante read Petronius'. On the contrary both are juxtaposed as if they represented a univocal 'light from Eleusis'. Pound's cult of Malatesta- who was influenced by Gemistus Pletho- indicates a belief in a sort of perennial philosophy rather than some post modern hi jinks derived from notions of 'inter-textuality' or complex Harold Bloomian 'misprison'.
    If you are making the claim that there was something, anything at all not utterly foolish and mad, which 'e'en old Ez realized' then you really need to tell us what that is. Conventionally, the literate reader would think that 'what e'en old Ez realized' was that ' the beauty is not the madness. Tho' my errors and wrecks lie about me. And I am not a demigod, I cannot make it cohere. (Canto 116)'
    But Pound gets to this insight caged up by his own people awaiting trial for his treasonous Radio (Wireless) broadcasts during the war. Dante reading Petronius has no relevance whatsoever.
    Does the second line, invoking contango and backwardation, throw any additional light? No. Pound's theory of money simply wasn't sophisticated. Indeed, before Keynes's Treatise on Money, contango itself was seen as a market imperfection. The problem with the remaining three lines is that they simply don't connect with the first. They may not be utterly meaningless but the context in which they might be meaningful has not been supplied. On the contrary, because the first line makes a false claim- viz that Pound realized something by 'letting Dante read Petronius'- what follows is an 'ex falso quodlibet mere explosion of nonsense'
    What is the connection between the Dutch tulip mania and the Radio age? Pound's own defence that there is no free speech without free Radio speech is well known. However, I don't recall anything on the Tulip mania.
    My point is that great poets- Pound or Ghalib- have a certain historicity. You can't say this is Ghalib's Ghazzalian reading of Ibn Arabi because there is no evidence at all that he read either. Nor can you say Pound reads Dante as reading Petronius such that... There is no evidence that Dante was reading Petronius at all.
    In poetry, images and allusions are constrained by conventional beliefs. True, the swan's feather can't really separate water from milk, but in Indian poetry that is an established convention. If you say 'the swan's feather cuts the diamond'- though this statement is equally false- the effect is simply bizarre. It isn't poetry, it is nonsense.
    That is what you have written here.
    In the case of Urdu, you clearly don't know the language or culture and so you make all sorts of howlers. But you are now doing the same thing in English.
    I am sorry to tell you, this is not actually an 'Indglish' habit. Indians versed in English get their references right and don't write nonsense.
    You do.
    Why?

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  4. @Sanjay Ka Ka- you foul little catamite, I bet you go to that cesspit of a school on Barakhamba road that we St. Columban's rightly held in the highest disdain.
    Still, you little shit, I can't really blame you for giving it to me good and proper now you think you've caught me with my pants down. But have you really?
    Let us examine the evidence. 'Light from Eleusis' is the giveaway. You are basing yourself on people like Leon Surette and his precursors...urm... I forget and Google can't prompt me as to the name of the guy back in the early 70's who credited the cantos with a synoptic vision.
    Your problem is you don't understand the line 'every Canto's contango is but Belief backwardized'
    Is it meaningless? It certainly would be if it weren't written by me. Why? Well, as an Iyer, I believe that meaning= apurvata and arises in the epoche of the karmic or deterministic apurva.
    Simply put, hermeneutic Time is quantized such that stuff like 'inter-textuality' and 'misprison' necessarily supervene irrespective of imputed Ontology.
    What some fucker whose book made Pound plain to you is fucking irrelevant. You're still stupid.
    So was Pound. But Wyndham Lewis? You're telling me Keynes's Money treatise wasn't grist to the sort of conversational mill Waugh satirizes in 'Work suspended'?
    Are you fucking kidding me?
    Let me ask you- what's difficult about the concept of contango as applied to a Canto? Clearly, any piece of poetic writing- allusive, imagiste, or rhetorical- must invoke more, much more, than what it cashes out as. After the fact, no doubt, a poet's work can be made to fit the Procrustean bed of a Philosophia perennis (indeed Belief is ever in backwardation). But information is lost that way.So we are not talking about an aesthetic system but just 'good taste' and fucking censorship.
    Why do you think I don't know Urdu? Do you not understand that the nature of Urdu is to be known to all who speak it but ever fugitive from the project of being a fucking Professor of it?

    Neither Pound nor Ghalib have 'a certain historicity' if a shit-head like you can grasp that historicity. Historicity isn't conventional. It isn't about what a fuckwit rentboy like you thinks average people think.
    'a swan feather cuts the heart of the diamond'- you think this is nonsense. It isn't. The heart contains the milk of human kindness. But fire, for the Sanskrit poet, is born from water- work the rest out as a homework exercise.
    Oh! I forgot! You've probably got a note from Mom letting you off homework coz u have asthma or AIDS or something.
    Transfer from Modern School to a Kendhriya Vidhyalay and there might be hope for you yet.
    Still, nice hearing from you.

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  5. Sir,
    I have previously requested you to desist from foul language and false imputations.
    For your kind information, I am not a school boy attending the Modern School on Barakhamba road. Perhaps I should be flattered that you think I attended an English medium school- that too one favoured by the elite. Sir, I did not have any such opportunity.
    I don't want to waste my time bandying words with you.
    You have previously stated that you wanted to steal some lines of my composition. It would be better for you if you addressed the questions raised by people who comment on your blog rather than fall upon them like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth and barking out all sorts of cheap abuse and ad hominem arguments.
    I don't know if you even bother to read what you yourself have written. Take this sentence-

    'Simply put, hermeneutic Time is quantized such that stuff like 'inter-textuality' and 'misprison' necessarily supervene irrespective of imputed Ontology.'

    The fact that you think such a sentence is 'simply put' isn't funny so much as sad.

    Sir, you are mentally ill.
    Kindly get help.

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  6. @Shree Sanjay Ka Ka
    Sir,
    You are entirely mistaken in your estimate of my character. Rather than indulging in the language of the gutter or employing ad hominem arguments, my concern all through our esteemed correspondence has been to save you from your wretched life as a reverse rent-boy on the streets of the Capital.

    Clearly, I was wrong to ascribe the cause of your moral declivity to an education at Modern School. In my defence, it was the most charitable explanation that occurred to me.

    You have a fixed belief that I don't know Urdu. You haven't explained why. I speak it. I write poetry in it. I translate it. I know of no translator of Ghalib who pays as close attention as I do to Islamic theology. Recently, I have begun looking at Gokturk aesthetics following on from a suggestion made by Gibbs that Turkic poetry valorizes interconnections between word clusters in a manner vastly different from the Persian.
    You dismiss me as an ignoramus in Urdu by reason of my Tamil and Hindu ancestry. I dismiss you as a precocious but perverted schoolboy by reason of your wilful ignorance- not of hermeneutics as a necessary branch of philosophy- but of poetry as never meaning what convention says it means.

    Didactic sententiousness or sentimentality on stilts aint what poetry cashes out as.

    'Simply put' poetry is never 'simply put'. The sentence you think evidence of madness is nothing of the sort. It is simply put in the language of the Philosophy of Mind- the relevant, the obvious, the only meta-language I ought to be using given that this 2011 and I'm not a fucking dehati fuckwit like you.
    Help yourself you worthless shithole.
    Opening your mind instead of your bowels leave at least this public thoroughfare, or internet path between us, free of the public nuisance you occasion venting it and your spleen.

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  7. just re-read that- the last line should read 'venting both and your spleen'.

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  8. @Sanjay K
    Oh, and thanks for the comments. Keep 'em coming you foul little catamite. Incidentally, if Sheila Dixit isn't actually your Auntie could you please not disillusion me?
    Back in the 70's it was our habit, at St. Columba's, to turn up at the Qutub Minar pretending to be peons from South Block with instruction s to put up noticeboards written in foreign languages warning visitors against using that monument as an anal dildo.
    My fond hope is that I will finally get the recognition I deserve as a great patriot and benefactor of Delhi, when- under the R.T.I Act- the Public gets to read my impassioned appeals to your esteemed Aunty requesting her to revive that salutary practise with a view to protecting her own darling little nephew- that's you Sanja Ka Ka- from becoming a bigger arsehole than he already is.

    PS. I really don't see why you chose to get so shirty in your last. Was it something I said?
    Honestly I enjoy your comments and hope you'll keep 'em coming. I mean I hope your comments will keep coming as opposed to the vast hordes of Municipal workers and CPWD karamcharis whom your rectum has dedicated itself to keep coming.

    As I have had previous occasion to admonish you- 'God created Adam and Yves St Laurent- not Adam and Steve'. Mind it kindly.

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  9. Mr. Vivek Iyer,
    I feel really sorry for you. You have replied four times to my one comment. Looking at the timing, it seems you are very lonely man with nothing better to do.
    I find it very foul mouthed and utterly cheap. You may think this is 'Indglish'. Yes, yes, you went to St. Columba- but do you know it is a very middle class school? You are giving airs and graces for no reason. I think you have a very elitist attitude and have contempt for Hindu people and culture.
    People like you feel very proud to clean toilets in Europe or America and think you are superior because you have green card or passport.
    Please tell me Mr. Vivek Iyer what is your great accomplishment? Nobody reads your books. They are worthless.
    I don't know why I waste my time on you. People like you think you know 'bad language'. If even a street urchin started giving you 'gali' you will start to cry and run to your mother.

    You are a mental case.

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  10. Okay, you win this round. Still, you shouldn't have brought up my erstwhile employment as a toilet attendant. As mentioned in my autobiographical 'Samlee's daughter', I was unable to get that job back after it was discovered that in my absence all the flies had died.

    Go ahead and gloat over your victory over me. Those flies where my only friends...

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