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Toward a radical middle

a time for fear
Friday, July 18, 2003  
Here was the path I had to take: from the part to the whole. The part was R-13. The magnificent whole was our Institute of State Poets and Writers. How could it have happened, I wondered, that the ancients did not immediately see how completely idiotic their literature and poetry was. The immense majestic power of the artistic word was squandered for absolutely nothing. It's simply ridiculous - everybody wrote about whatever popped into his head. It's just as stupid and ridiculous as the fact that the ancients let the ocean go on dumbly beating against the shore around the clock, and the millions of kilogrammeters locked up inside the waves went for nothing but kindling lovers' emotions. We've taken the waves' sweet nothings and turned them into electricity...taken a mad crashing foaming beast and turned it into a domestic animal. In just the same way we've tamed and saddled what used to be the wild nature of poetry. Poetry today is not the impudent nightingale's piping - poetry is government service, poetry is usefulness.
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We

4:21 PM

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