Distribution Automatique

Monday, November 24

One more quote from the new edition of Walter Benjamin's selected writings:

"...It is highly significant
that Baudelaire
encountered competitive
relations in the production
of poetry. Of course,
personal rivalries between poets
are as old as the hills. But here
the rivalry is
transposed into competition
on the open market.
In this context, it was a real
discovery for Baudelaire
that he was not competing
against *individuals.*
The disorganization of poetic schools,
of "styles"
is the complement of the open market,
which reveals
itself to the poet as his audience.
In Baudelaire, the
public as such comes into view
for the first time...
because the "school" was for
him a mere epiphenomenon,
he experienced the public as a more
authentic reality."

Walter Benjamin
Selected Writings
Harvard UP

Clearly as public clamor for
individual poets declined (Baudelaire,
like most poets remained relatively
unknown during his lifetime),
it became necessary for those
who wanted to bring poetry to public
attention, discovered and theorized
beween poets that might highlight the
existence of poetic "schools." Apparently,
with blogging and web publishing,
this has become less necessary. As
Benjamin believed was the wish of
Baudelaire, writers are now enabled
to bring their works directly to the public
without necessarily enjoying the
patronage of critics and the leaders
of poetic schools. Of course,
everyone concerned with bringing
greater interest to contemporary
poetry would have the most success
working productively with each
other. But, as Benjamin makes
clear in this discussion of Baudelaire,
if the poet is empowered to bring
their work directly to the public, the
necessity for the critical grouping
of poets as an "incorporated" body
may become less necessary.
In any case, it appears
that pluralism seems
to have expanded apace with the
burgeoning of desktop publishing, and
is expanding exponentially
with web publishing and blogging.