Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The pyritic twilitic

The great Melanie Dusseau suggested "pyritic twilight," and it rules, like she does. From her, I learned to look at pop culture with new reverence, and she's written beautifully about it in her poetry and elsewhere. It seems strange now to divide it from literary and high culture, and one of the sweet aspects of postmodernism's project was the attempt to fuse the two again. So much of art since the end of church patronage seemed to flounder around the question of what to depict instead of the holy family, and what's come since then has shown us another kind of holiness.

The one who popularized the word holy again in our lifetimes was Burt Ward, who played Robin on the Batman tv series. Holy worked as an adjective for him over and over again, and I think it helped keep me spiritual. It certainly helped keep me batmanic, as did the story I read on an ABC news site today, about scientists who have trained dolphins to whistle the Batman theme.

But now I'm talking about Batman again. It's weird how often it pops up in my conversation, or maybe not weird, since I've been working on poems about Batman for the last four years, on and off, and have been following Kevin Young's advice, that the key to writing a book of poems about one topic was to get obsessed. It worked. I think I knew it was working when it seemed perfectly natural to me to draw a Batman logo on my chest, not to show anyone, but just to try to channel the language. Fortunately, they can medicate stuff like this, now. Woo hoo.


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