in the middle of the banging and the slaughtering

On the one hand poetry has always depended on there being a well-ordered society with a division of labor, ready to finance its festive bards, and on the other... in the interests of proper and concentrated recording, it has always had a tendency to stay off to the side somewhere. The latter has led to the insoluble paradox that it flourished in splendid isolation, cannily insisting on neutrality and right of refusal, while at the same time being always at the heart of things, in the middle of the banging and the slaughtering, there where the destruction of the temple was discussed, or the construction of the Trojan horse. Rather than chip in with advice, it has played the part of the observer, who would finally convert his collected silence into the one and only commentary that survived the wreckage, some unforgettable line of song, some key scene of an epic or heartbreaking elegy.

- Durs Grünbein, in his essay "Why Live Without Writing" in the February 2010 issue of Poetry, as translated by Michael Hofmann.

1 comment:

Essays Writing said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.