Friday, October 8, 2010

Literary Criticism & See You in Portland

"I dream about a kind of criticism that would try 
not to judge but to bring an oeuvre, a book, a 
sentence, an idea to life; it would light fires, 
watch the grass grow, listen to the wind, and 
catch the sea foam in the breeze and scatter it. 
It would multiply not judgments but signs of 
existence; it would summon them, drag them 
from their sleep. Perhaps it would invent them 
sometimes -- all the better.

"Criticism that hands down sentences sends me 
to sleep; I'd like a criticism of scintillating leaps 
of imagination. It would not be sovereign or
dressed in red. It would bear the lightning 
of possible storms."

-Michel Foucault, "The Masked Philosopher," interview in *Le Monde,*

Thanks to Cindy Stewart-Rinier for this quote. 


  1. Wonderful quote.

    I enjoyed so much hearing your poem at Whale Sound.

  2. Thank you, Maureen! I had no comments so was wondering if anyone listened at all ~

  3. Love this quote, Susan--it reminds me how far astray most criticism has wandered. William Logan, bless his heart, did quite a number on Seamus Heaney last week in the NY Times. Imagine waking up to learn that most of your best poems had already been written. Lovely.