POETS Day! John Donne

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

Welcome to POETS Day! The John Donne Edition, so prepare to Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. By the time this post is published you still won’t have voted yet so feel free to make your workplace a haven for free speech. Who will end up holding the reins of power is on quite a few minds. People say that it’s impolite to talk about politics or religion in public, but people love to talk about politics and religion. Once they get going it’s Katie bar the door. Indulge their desires by giving the people what they want and don’t hold back. If people are reticent to speak up start assigning positions like a debating coach. “Sally, you defend congressional stock trades. Bill. Abortion. I’ve got you down for anti. Tommy, pretend to be above it all and keep saying that there’s no real difference between the parties.” Have fun with it. Maybe designate a supply closet as the penalty box. I’ll give it thirty minutes before everyone is at each other’s throats and forty-five before the walk outs begin. Follow suit. You aren’t going to get any work done in this environment. Hit the bars, grab a matinee, surf PornHub for the articles, take a walk along a creek, or otherwise indulge yourself. It’s the weekend and it comes early to those willing to seize it. But first, some metaphysical stuff.

Samuel Johnson had some harsh words for the metaphysical poets. He thought they were showoffs always trying to impress on the reader how learned they were. He’s probably right about that. He also had issues with their devotional poetry. He felt that any communication with God was by de facto divine and attempts to improve the experience by framing it poetically were attempts wasted. The divine exists above poetry. I’m not a Johnson aficionado so I have no idea whether or not he had similar issues with devotional poetry by non-metaphysical poets, but I have read a few lines of his explaining why it was okay when Milton did it. I just skimmed his Milton excuses, but it seemed to me like he was protesting too much.

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