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to the poetic potential of form and symbol, she is alert and responsive to those groups which concentrate in those realms. As a theater practitioner, she is conscious of theatrical technique and is able to point to the process by which technique influences form. By assuming that form and content are the same thing, however, she comes up with another assumption which I find indigestible, namely that an anti-naturalistic style is inherently and forevermore radical, no matter how obscure or solipsistic the end result. As a corollary, Viola Spolin's system of improvisational theater is put forward as the basis for any progressive theatrical technique. She is critical of a similar, though less evolved, technique developed in the Thirties from an "imposed Marxist analysis of content ." In contrast, "Spolin made sure that even when the content is not about a revolutionary synthesis, the structure of the activity definitely is." The people's theater Ms. Taylor proposes is potentially without an audience since the actor's experience takes precedence over the audience's. "Radical theater is nothing if not a search for alternatives to the fundamental assumptions of the 'logic of domination' ", the author asserts. I wish she had explored those assumptions in her writing. Eager to avoid formality and to make a "personal communication" as she says in her introduction, she tyrranizes over the reader by organizing the material through association, by refusing to present a clear thesis, and by eschewing such formal fuddy-duddy aids like an index (I can't complain about this enough) or a bibliography so someone else could find the material. For instance, it is apparently important to her that someone discovered the "simultaneous text" - in the introduction she calls this discovery the most exciting and energizing development in theater . But I'll be damned if I ran across the simultaneous text more than twice - once somewhere (I can't find it now) near the beginning and again in the discussion of the Open Theater. Her method makes the book difficult to assess and almost impossible to use. It exemplifies the same (I think) mistaken assumptions she makes about theater. When the process (form) of a work takes precedence over its purpose (communicated content), you are likely to end up with a piece that is subjective, self-indulgent, diffuse, and of limited social value. Betsy Edelson LYRICAL SUBJECTIVITY AND THE DISORGANIZED IMAGINATION Marilyn Hacker. Presentation Piece. Viking-Compass, 1974. 116 pp. $2.95 Philip Levine. 1933. Atheneum, 1974. 68 pp. $3.95 Robert Peters. Holy Cow: Parable Poems. Red Hill Press, 1974. 47 pp. $2.50 Ed Ochester, Dancing on the Edges of Knives. U. of Missouri, 1973. 64 pp. n.p. The condition of poetry in the age of industrialization has been one of radical subjectivity, as the conspicuous victory of the lyric mode suggests. Poetry in its exclusively lyric form has deepened and been deepened by the rising bourgeois personality that took art as a position of refuge from a society that had already pushed the fact of the personality to the margins of 122 daily life. In that sense, lyrical subjectivity provided one of the few barely adequate shelters (along with madness, crankishness, fantasy and revolution) for the bourgeois personality to work out its responses to the threat of its own elimination by the forces of rationalism and industrial positivism. Yet its responses have been profoundly ambivalent: on one hand they provided, like Baudelaire's, a line of defense for the survival of an intact revolutionary imagination , while on the other they have devolved, like Peledan's, into hypersubjectivity and "the scramble for the remnants of human experience" (Russell Jacoby in Telos 9). The line separating Baudelaire from Peladan is very thin indeed, but the tension between these two poets stretches across the full range of that 19thcentury French bohemianism which straddles the deepest tendencies of revolution and reaction; where Baudelaire explored and rolled back the frontiers of the personality with the objective logic of his own imagination, Peladan turned to the language of the hermetic and occult traditions, creating with them the secular religion of Art and the priestcraft of the Artist. As the first writer to incorporate occult theory...


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pp. 122-125
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