The title of my particular Commentary series for Jacket2 might seem, initially, alarmingly pretentious, channeling the spirits and writings of Wallace Stevens, Theodor Adorno and the actual inspiration for this series, the philosopher Graham Harman, in one fatal, repulsive act of “verbal behavior.”
But actually, the title is perfectly bland and accurate: I wish to sketch out, in brief blasts of 500-words or less (the basic formal constraint for “commentators” on Jacket2) some ideas about how the developing field or trend in philosophy known generally as Speculative Realism, and more specifically as “object-oriented ontology” when concerning the writings of Harman and his followers, can be corralled, seduced, kidnapped or appropriated to describe something of value concerning “poetry.”
I’m not kidding. I’d like to attempt something that has been largely unfashionable in recent literary history, which is to describe poetry — the very category of “poetry,” the actions of individual poems, the corpus of poems attributed to individual “authors,” and the way poetry is evaluated either by the casual reader or the professional reviewer and academic -- in terms that derive from the metaphysical tradition of philosophy dating back to the pre-Socratics. Naive?