Corean Music Part 4: It's "too much" (for some)

by on Aug.15, 2013

I have a new post (number 4) of “Corean Music” up at the poetry foundation. It’s about how critics and scholars (from Steve Burt to Marjorie Perloff and Kenny Goldsmith) love to use the economic rhetoric of austerity and standards: there’s too much poetry, they argue. Too much for whom? What is “too much”? What is “too much” is really an interesting, Bataillean space of excess?


All of these rhetorical strains are based on an economic model: “Too much” is inherently bad, is inflation. Each one sets up a kind of “gold standard”: the work of art cannot be gratuitous, must follow the standard. The problem is of course that poetry is not a “thing”—It’s all masquerade, all pageantry, all inflation. All gratuitous. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Daniel Tiffany’s forthcoming book on kitsch shows its strong connections to poetry and to the sense of an “excessive beauty.” Poetry is kitsch, poetry is inherently too much. Poetry is inflationary. Even Plato knew that! It’s why he got rid of the poets!

I think the recent post by Christian and Lucas, as well as the comment discussion to Christian’s posts are important and related topics in this debate. I hope to try to tie these things together over the next few days and I hope the rest of you will help me.

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