I have been in an Italian mood of late. After 10 days there and I have been readin the new FSG book of Marinetti's work in translation. I have always been fascinated with Fascist Bohemia, Pound, Eliot, Dos Passos, Marinetti, Celine, Cocteau, Bocconi, d'Annunzio all men who were Intellectuals, innovators and men of the Right.
One of the questions that vexes me is why do Marxists get off without critique? Today famous poets like Charles Bernstein can use Marxists notions and ideas in their work and theory and no one brings up the fact that Marxism in its 20h Century manifestations killed many more people than
Fascism. No one challenges the idea that using Marxist modes of thinking may be suspect and compromised. No one feels it required to mention that Pablo Neruda recieved the Stalin Prize and was an intimate of various men in Russia who were apologists for mass murder. But with any of the men above the fact that they were Fascists or Anti Semitic or Collaborators is the first words in any bio.
I think that this shows the intellectual vapidity of post and after post modern intellectuals. Most poetico-intellectuals are weak reflections of the greats of the modernist period. It is almost like someone boiled Stein or Pound until most of the color came out and made Michael Palmer. I think that the fact that we are not comfortable with a poet in his personal life or ideas is a plus not a minus. Why should everyone be the same? But poetry has migrated from an artform to a academic discipline. This is the death of poetry. Even Poets who railed against this in their youths like Charles Bernstein or even dear and wonderful Robert Creeley were sucked into academia and had their hard edges rubbed off.
In the end no one condons or celebrates mass murder but I think that the lack of strong and sometimes harsh views makes poetry less rich not more so and the fact that so many poets are also academics keeps the harshness out of and artform that needs so much to be hard and crisp not moth eaten and tweedy.