Friday, February 01, 2008

small victories

oppen's prosethe recent and long-awaited publication of george oppen's prose has the poetry world buzzing. well, at least that's my intuition in a kind of incidental way indicated, for example, by paul's recent comment on mark's blog.

until any such time as i have further thoughts on the oppen book, i'll just note another telling coincidence in the pages of the latest issue of the nation.

reviewing the oppen prose together with the recent critical study of oppen by peter nicholls, james longenbach concludes that "Oppen's victories are no less great for being small." (not unrelated to my previous post on sectarianism.)

turn the page, and in an omnibus review of recent books chronicling late 1960s radicalism, maurice isserman points out how elinor langer assesses the great failure of the new left was that "it mistook revolution, a rare historical event, for a moral choice." she goes on:
"John Brown is a good symbol for us," Langer noted in passing. "At one point he wanted to run a school for Negroes but he came to find the idea too small: he had to attack Harper's Ferry."
score one for small victories.

No comments: