Hm. This must rank as the most interesting response from a reviewee to one of my reviews. I don't know why I've never thought about the class implications of the profanity before ... it seems so obvious once it was pointed out to me. But, here, let me share it (with his permission)--this note from Olchar E LIndsann regarding my review of his profanity poems. Read it and then perhaps go to link for the profanity-filled review.Hi Eileen
Thanks for this – I must say that one of my favourite lines written yet about my work is "At this point, if this publication were longer than the slim chap that it is, I’d have shut it down and moved on to the next publication calling itself poetry." I laughed aloud. For what it's worth, the genesis of that series for me was two-fold: On one level, I'd just moved back to the States after two years in the UK and was reflecting on the subtle ways in which people treated language in everyday conversation there, which seemed encapsulated in how profanity's employed (more of it, more profanity and gradation, less association with the supposed-meaning of words which meant fewer words that are actually taboo, much more colourful figurative language interlaced with it, etc. – in a word, more playfully). The class implications of profanity (in English it's the anglo-saxon version of the word spoken by serfs that's profane, and the franco-norman version of the aristocracy that is acceptable, pretty much across the board) are much closer to the surface there. Secondly, profanity fascinates me because it tends to detach itself from so many of the rules of language – words are used as nouns, adjectives, verbs and exclamations interchangeably; they're combined in all kinds of conjunctions with other words to create phrases that are apparently nonsense, and in fact carry no semantic content, and yet definitely mean something (they just don't say it); in moments of lost control, they come out in long strings that had almost might as well be glossolalia; words are only rarely used in accordance with their literal meanings, yet those literal meanings are what make them taboo, yet breaking the taboo they impose is their only reason for being.
I'm enjoying the other engagements posted here too – thanks again,