on Niedecker's grandfather poem (on language and politics)

	Sat, 2 Oct 1999 10:32:12 -0400 (EDT)



I intend this message to be about a difficult topic--the connection
and		themes of social resistance or difference.

This is the aspect of the Dickinsonian mode that will be very important a
hundred years later--in the present day--in the history of modern American

Mary Kay's comment on "grandfather told me" (copied at the bottom here)
helps a lot, I think. From this and what others have said, one imagines
the following sort of conversation:

GRANDFATHER: Grand-daughter, you really need to think about supporting

YOUNG WOMAN POET: What do you mean?

G: Get a job.

Ywp: Is that all you mean?

G: Huh?

Ywp: Don't you really mean--get a life? You don't think I am participating
in the socio-economic fabric of society or even of the family. You want me
to be normal. Telling me to get a job, but really meaning that I should
participate like everyone else is a form of oppression. You want me to
stop hanging around with myself. You want me to *mean* in an established
social way.

G: Really?

Ywp: Yeah, but you know what, Grandpa? I'm already fully employed. I
already have an occupation. It's *this*.

G: What?

Ywp: This. You know? What I'm saying--now--*this* way--*these* words. No,
no, no, *this* is my job. 

G: What's *this*?

Ywp: What I'm doing now. Not just resisting your expectation but doing it
in language?

G: What are the advantages of that? I mean, does it bring home the bacon?
And what's language got to do with it?

Ywp: The advantage is that when I do *this* I'm never unemployed.

G: You're strange.

Ywp smiles and goes off to write this.


| Hi everyone!
| Al ask if Lorine Niedecker uses -"Grandfather.." as a form of
| resistance.  I believe she does.  She rejects the expected path put
| before her by her grandfather, who assumes he knows best.  But she does
| so cleverly and respectfully.  She shows that she is quite capable and
| self-reliant.
| I see these qualities in Emily as well.  She had external expectations
| and pressures from family and society, but she knew who and what she was
| better than anyone ever could.
| Mary Kay

navigate 88v: schedule | key | home | PAPERs | | m a i l the s t a f f