Friday, 21 February 2014

Revenge Artist

For years, Louise Glück conceived of her poems as part of elaborate revenge fantasies in which her enemies would be "annihilated" by envy and awe.
It became my immediate response to all public and private failure, to scorn, to betrayal, but also to much smaller events and embarrassments to which such fantasies were wildly disproportionate. But they were not simply balm. They were also fuel. They fed an existing desire to write poetry, transforming that desire into urgent ambition. They could not replace inspiration, or bribe it into existence, but they augmented inspiration with a driving sense of purpose or necessity; they animated me when I might easily have been paralyzed. It was for many years intensely pleasurable to anticipate the leisurely unfolding, over time, of revenge, with its just and glorious reversals of existing judgments and power relations.

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