"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance." --Wesley Snipes

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kenneth Koch

So here's the deal about KK. Dude was happy all the time. Or, rather, his poetic persona was generally in good spirits. Even when he was old and wistful, the damn poems were still overwhelmingly happy.

When I was a baby poet and still in denial about my depression, I appreciated KK. I appreciated htat he wasn't depressing, that in his poetry there was an optimism, a devotion to the side not characterized by the "swervings of the darkest heart."

I too wanted to reject Eliotic seriousness. Bleh.

Now as a more highly functioning, somewhat less depressed individual, I find KK sort of irritating. I actually value darkness more now. Seriousness, even. God, I'm becoming lame. Or perhaps I'm growing up. But if this is what adulthood is like, I want no part of it.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I have to disagree: I think the dominant mood in Koch is a kind of anxious hilarity. There's a disquieting restlessness in his work from start to beginning. Frustration, misunderstanding, vulnerability, anxiety, and anger are just a few of the negative emotions in his work I can think of right off the top of my head. Sure, it can be a manic pick-me-up in times of depression, but did it occur to you that he was doing that to himself, too? In other words, the same thing you were looking for in your reading of him, he was doing for himself by writing these poems?