Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Capitalism & John Haines, poet.

Notes on the Capitalist Persuasion
by John Haines

"Everything is connected to everything..."
So runs the executive saw,
cutting both ways
on the theme of all improvement:
Your string is my string
when I pull it my way.

In my detachment is your dependency.

In your small and backward nation
some minor wealth still beckons -
was it lumber, gas, or only sugar?
Thus by imperial logic,
with carefully aimed negotiation,
my increase is your poverty.

When the mortgage payments falter,
then in fair market exchange
your account is my account,
your savings become my bonus,
your home my house to sell.

In my approval is your dispossession.

Often in distress all social bonds
are broken. Your wife may then
be my wife, your children
my dependents — if I want them.

So, too, our intellectual custom:
Your ideas are my ideas
when I choose to take them.
Your book is my book,
your title mine to steal,
your poem mine to publish.

In my acclaim is your remaindering.

Suppose I sit in an oval office:
the public polls are sliding,
and to prove I am still in command
I begin a distant war. Then,
in obedience to reciprocal fate,
by which everything is connected,
my war is your war,
my adventure your misfortune.

As when the dead come home,
and we are still connected,
my truce is your surrender,
my triumph your despair.
(From Poetry Foundation).

John Haines was born in Norfolk, Virginia on 29 June 1924, with Sun/Mercury/Venus and Pluto in sensitive Cancer, between 0 and 11 degrees. Moon was in sign of the writer, Gemini (whatever his birth time). What I see as most relevant in the chart is a Yod linking serious Saturn and creative Neptune in sextile with Uranus (planet of the rebel) by quincunx. Being translated that means serious-minded creativity manifesting in a somewhat radical/rebellious fashion.

Much of John Haines's writing in both poetry and prose is a critique of a society that he sees locked up, as the philosopher Martin Heidegger phrased it, "in a destitute time." His vision and voice are somber and serious, at times profoundly apocalyptic. There is little room in Haines's poems for humor, playfulness, or what might be called "the domestic." Writing of his experiences as a homesteader in Alaska, Haines was recognized early as a "nature poet" whose interests were divided between his activities as a hunter and trapper, on the one hand, and his concern over environmental degradation of his adopted state, on the other. His awards include two Guggenheim fellowships in poetry (1965 and 1984), a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in poetry (1967), the Alaska Governor's Award in the Arts for his lifetime contributions (1982), an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alaska Center for the Book (1994). (See Dictionary of literary Biography)


Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for the intro, T, I hadn't heard of him, now I'm totally intrigued.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Me too. His books about his life in Alaska are on my list to seek out.