Thursday, November 14, 2013

concerning Adam Zagajewski

Can writing -- prose and poetry -- be objectively good and interesting? As well as vice versa?

I think so. I think I've figured it out. The prime factor is profound sensibility. 

About the vice versa: skim through what's offered at The Paris Review and other high-brow literary journals. Skim through until your brain turns to gypsum dust. Almost all the prose stylists and poets featured in those places are pretentious, boring, unreadable. Whatever it is they're doing and are concerned with, it's not good and interesting.   

Now, Zagajewski.

When he puts pen to paper or opens his mouth to speak, the results are good and interesting. And here's why:

there is always an implicit metaphysical wonder within his words, always a silent counterpoint of Schubert and Mahler as aesthetic subtext, always a faint Old World irony and cultural humility informing his attitude to thought and expression.

This is a rare thing. The above qualities make Zagajewski's prose and poetry open, hospitable, compelling.  

Although I will state that metaphysical wonder, deep-music aesthetic, and selfless attitude are objective correlatives to the creation of remarkable literary works, I have no idea how one goes about systematically learning these things. It can't be taught in a classroom. Maybe it's a matter of mysterious, innate brilliance.

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