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About The Scene: What Kinds of Short Posts will You Have Besides Your Longer Major Posts and Commentary?

What Kinds of Short Posts will You Have Besides Your Longer Major Posts and Commentary?


September 11, 2017

Re-Posts: I plan on posting lots and lots of material you need to know about from other places, especially current material. I may have to cut and paste and re-format because WordPress won’t allow bloggers to re-post directly from outside the WordPress network. But of course I will always be mindful of copyright restrictions.

And as much as I keep saying poetry and poetics, we all know that the world of radical art is much more. So I imagine some serious independent filmmakers and really radical fiction writers are fair game. Back with the Beats, I can’t imagine talking about the poets and not acknowledging fellow travellers like Burroughs and Kerouac.

I plan on posting acknowledgements on special dates such as birthdays, death dates, historical events, etc. If you read my other blogs you’ll see similar posts.

And profiles of radical poets.

Or short posts with readings radicalizing the official literary canon from familiar college courses. Hey, haven’t you ever thought about how really radical those Greek playwrights were? Or Homer? Or those Russians like Dostoyevsky. We’ve got radical poets? How about radical readers? You! Follow the Scene in WordPress.

Paul Varner



Notes Toward a Gone World: Reading Radicalism in Ancient World Literature


March 1, 2017

How do we read? Is it enough in The Scene to talk about radical poetics from the perspective of what writers intended to say as they wrote and published. They wrote for whatever purpose they intended, but does that mean we should feel bound to read as they wrote? Big Question. But think of Great Literature itself–ok, canonical literature–from a radical perspective. (You define “radical”). And, of course, I’m concerned, really, with literature of the Western world.

What if we all read the Great Literature of the past the way the radical critic and scholar Jan Kott read Shakespeare? As Peter Brook said, Jan Kott “is undoubtedly the only writer on Elizabethan matters who assumes without question that every one of his readers will at some point or other have been woken by the police in the middle of the night.”

So here we have Homer screaming through the centuries to us about Achilles vs. Agamemnon vs. Hector and the horrors of ARETE–the essence of Homeric manhood.Really? That’s the story? Should Achilles have stayed in his tent? Look at those long Homeric similes. How do you read those things? Like everybody else? Or not?

Or Sophocles dramatizing Destiny/Fate, Creon and the machinery of the political state ready to crush Antigone, ready to crush us. If you really want to get down to something that hits home, read Aeschylus and Euripides the way some supercharged zig zag director today would stage their plays.

Or the dialogues of Plato and especially those in and about the trial of Socrates. They crawl under our shirts, under our pants and up, up, up terrifying us as 21st century readers because  we see The Terror as the STATE executing its citizens for crimes of the mind.Be careful what you THINK!

How can we read Aurelius and Augustine today?—How to live in a police state? Be not perturbed.

Even Dante and the descent into the Inferno. Can you imagine real Horror, true Horror that makes Stephen King stories into baby board books?

Chaucer? ah, the human comedy. But why do we laugh? Or any old comedy, really. The Comedy of Errors? That’s life, folks. Have you ever seen a Feydeau farce?

Or Machiavelli—look around you, folks. Go downtown.

Castiglioni?—true Renaissance life; studied nonchalance? Ha ha! take me to the funny farm!

Where am I going with this way of reading? I don’t want to think about it. (Ok, let’s think about it. Follow The Scene.)