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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution
(1968)

Yates, Peter
Book reviews: the question of "stasis",   pp. 333-343 PDF (8.4 MB)


Page 343

meter has been chronological time,
measured by the stopwatch. Latterly he
has been trying to rid himself
of time entirely.
Thus the ways of thought which make up
his writings - he disdains the term,
philosophy - and his craftsmanship
go separate paths. As a craftsman he
works step by step; each composition
a step forward from the last. As
a thinker he bounds from enthusiasm
to enthusiasm and can forget completely
the enthusiasm of an earlier season.
So in his best writing he projects
each sentence as a direct statement,
seldom with inversion, as he learned
from Gertrude Stein, while soaring
among the clouds - mushrooms to
Zen to Meister Eckhart - of his
personal empyrean. Claiming to rely
on chance for many of his
compositions, music, lecture, writing,
he prepares carefully the material with
which chance must work. His best writings
belong with the poets. When he strains
to write, he ornaments, goes wrong.
His ear for sounds and words is
wonderful, in the real meaning of that
word, though he claims he has not the
ear of a musician. I have heard
him, surprised by the rich shriek of
a table leg scraping floor and by
a Couperin Saraband played on a
meantone-tuned harpsichord, cry out in
pleasure. The easy control and
modulation of his voice when lecturing
or performing should be a model for
poets. Reading him one enters
not the austerity verging on asceticism
in which he lives but the universe of
unbounded discovery, wonder, and
excitement he urges on all mankind.
is going on. One of the principal duties
of a critic, from time to time, is to
beat the hell out of what is going on.
Any critic should refuse to be a patsy for
the current.
They have to talk about
all these people;
but a poem's made, not for the public.
Too many words, too many images:
words, images, metaphors of poetry.
The information about temperament
and tuning in this article was learned
during many years of association with
the late Wesley Kuhnle, whose
History of Tuning, recorded on tape
with a multitude of comparative
examples, will I hope soon be published
as a text with records. Complete sets
of these tapes are at the University of
Illinois, Urbana, and Washington
University, St. Louis, (original version)
and Wesleyan University, Middletown,
Connecticut, and Long Beach State
College, Long Beach, California
(final version). Apart from improved
levels, the differences between the two
sets are not great.
Addenda: Returning for a moment to
The New Amercan Arts, which I
have neglected: the chief purpose
of these critics seems to be to tell what
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