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Clichérie - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The other night at the Denali show, when my former student was talking to me about poetry, I tried to explain my undergraduate theory that it would be possible to write a great body of work solely by inverting the clichés of other writers. I explained all the work I'd done on Rilke and how he often seemed to be taking that approach, particularly in the New Poems.

In the course of the discussion, I thought of a little formulation:
I would love to become a cliché, but I don't want to be a cliché!
It's silly and obvious, to be sure, but still captures the basic philosophical distinction between being and becoming quite nicely. What do you do once you've arrived?

Mode: still backing up
Muse: still Purcell sonatas

2 comments or Leave a comment
masoo From: masoo Date: November 5th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"What do you do once you've arrived?"

Does anyone ever arrive?

I've been listening to the following for 28 years, and it just seems to get more poignant and further away with every passing year:
Someday girl
I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then
tramps like us
baby we were born to run
It's always the time of "But till then," it's never "Someday," we're all tramps. To cite another song from the same album,
Remember all the movies, Terry,
we'd go see
Trying to learn how to walk like the heroes
we thought we had to be
Well after all this time to find
we're just like all the rest
Stranded in the park
and forced to confess
hiding on the backstreets
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 5th, 2003 11:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


I vividly remember the moment -- one I will surely cite on my blog more than once -- when I was travelling around Germany, sleeping on trains, and got in to so some provincial station in the middle of the night. It was a couple hours between trains, so I just hung out in the lobby and read.

Around 4am, the baseball-scoreboard-type, non-digital train destination sign swung over to reveal the message, "20 Minuten Verspätung," instead of announcing the arrival of the expected train. I thought, "Whatever." But the other three people on the platform were enraged.

Germans apparently believe that if they leave on time, they'll have a better chance of making it to that place in the sun.

I've always loved Bruce's ability to capture that strange nostalgia for a future that will never come that constitutes the Utopian side of our daily lives.

He's also good at dealing with clichés, as evidenced by the song "Local Hero."
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