Critical Condition

The essays I have written. For as long as I can recollect having written essays. Fragmentation staved. Not starved. The duration of time involved is quite long already. Now it is nearly the fourth decade of writing. As if I were in some kind of solitary confinement. Everyone is in solitary in their skin. Tennessee Williams. I am currently reading the latest biography of him. Condemned to solitary confinement in our skins.

In many of the essays I have written for as long as I have been writing literary essays, personal essays, social and political commentary, I have maintained a simple intension, and that is to examine our social interactions and the forums for those interactions. In this kind of social commentary, I have provided critique of these social interactions and their forums, how we speak to one another, especially when another person is one kind of other we figure cannot be another, inclusive, like, must be different, mutually exclusive. We divide and subdivide ourselves, unable to reach any understanding of universality let alone manifest an attitude of universality, socially. I have no objections to the best intentions of what we call diversity, except where it is misunderstood and stands for another way of providing The People with one diversion after another. Diversity, if not managed appropriately and carefully, can be diverse as in diversion or divergent. This can happen in a society by design or arise simply in effect.

There is a compelling logic carried to its conclusion by the premise: This is a Literary Review. The nature of reviewing is to look again, at or for; it is assumed that by reviewing some kind of seeing again is gling to happen. Seeing, we know from our own cultural habits of speech and contacts with other cultural habits of speech, is to understanding; yes, to see is to understand when to understand is to stand under, to hold, to fell, to carry.

I do understand–and please allow me this gross assumption as matter speaking, a figure of speech–yes, I understand how some may not understand this specifically drawn sense of understanding, but the purpose herein is explicit. We must become post to every lintel of knowledge, experience, communication.

Ours is both the best of cultures and the worst of cultures, as any culture stands as its most enduring enemy, as anyone understands that he or she is his or her own worst enemy as well as a potential best friend. Social critique and social commentary are staples in any review that purports to be serious in its endeavors; it must be critical if it is to maintain validity or relevance.  To offer this commentary without a critical edge sharp enough to cut is a disgrace to the memory of the traditions of reviewing, of any critical journal at any time in any place, any country, any culture, any political environment, any language. All of the former, human

All social interactions are fair game (pardon the cliche) within the confines of the critical essays intended for social commentary. Responses herein to the questions that arise, or the questions I have anticipated some might ask, are not in themselves answers. The distinction between answering and responding ad which is enaged when and how and to what result or for what purpose is the subject of another essay herein included in its Pages section, the chief section of this review, not the blog, although the later has as much to do with critique, often in other forms, mostly, another length (but where length dictates form and style, this is significant).

The Falling Leaf Review has offered, does offer and will offer criticism, explication, commentary, exposition, even Jeremiads, which do not chiefly answer as much as they address, perhaps by redressing grievances or making pronouncements, perhaps grandiloquent ones, on social woes. I do acknowledge that as the Publishing Editor of this review, I cannot help but shape what this review will sound like, or what it will appear as, when readers access its texts. I am the chief writer–I am the only writer–everything herein is I. The Review, c’est moi, I think have already said.

Jeremiah’s Lamentations on the woe and misery and decadence of third century BC Jerusalem is never too far from our social and political critiques; the energy behind Jeremiah’s pronouncements while lamenting the political and the socio-economic conditions of the Jewish people in Jerusalem is informative of our commitment. What more do you want me to say–perhaps an anecdote, one that purports access to my mind, my thoughts, the kind of person I was am have been will be . . . when I was a boy, my favorite prophet was The Baptist; I later included Jeremiah among my personal collection of spiritual kins, the likes of Shelley, Byron and Blake were also granyted access to my inner circle. I am not saying that thses are the only poets included in my inner circle of spiritual kin, but an appreciation of their critical positions was paramount in my development as a writer of critical essays.


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