3) Is the Anglo-American Modernist long poem explosive or implosive in its architectures? Or is its largesse, rather, impelled by a dialectical tension between these two poles? If the latter, what does it mean that such a synthesis has resulted in the canonical ossification of the genre? And is this ossification analogous to the sacralization of those classical ruins to which millions of tourists every year make pilgrimage? Use The Cantos, The Wasteland, Patterson, Briggflatts, Cornish Heroic Song for Valda Trevlen, and The Anathemata as examples in your answer. This is a very complicated question, so don't leap to the obvious (i.e. Of course the Modernist long poem is 'explosive'!). You should think so hard that your very head catches fire. Impelled to the difficult answer that the long poem is a combination of the explosive and implosive (these terms understood in the context of the questions, not my own view of architectural writing), I’m wont to decide where to take this. The first point must be to call the possible logical fallacy of the dialectic. If the aforementioned tension is dialectical, then we should assume that the synthesis has not yet occurred. As I understand it, there is no initial tension in the synthesis until the next antithesis has arisen. I’m amused by the suggestion that a synthesis would imply ossification, however, as this is a classic critique of Hegelian and Marxist dialectics – i.e. that the State in Hegel and the communist utopia in Marx mark an end in the dialectic process, which is, of course, illogical (why should the process end?). Is it being suggested that the Anglo-American Modernist long poem is the end of some sort of dialectical process? If so, we might ask how this relates to “sacralization”. Still, the “thing” about the Modernist long poems is that when reading them, one does feel like a tourist. Wasn’t it Zukofski who made the analogy between the Cantos and rough mountain terrain (or was that what Pound told Zukofski, I forget)? One can’t help being awed by the analogies in the Pisan Cantos between Taishan and the mountains in view of the DTC camp, for example. But the shifting images and associations, lets call them part of the internal space, in MAA long poems often sit uneasily with the overall sprawl or reach of the structure as a whole. In other words, while we might follow one image to another there is a point at which the links break apart and we have no obvious recourse to a larger design.. but what this has to do with architecture, I don’t know.

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