I loved his rage. And rage is a dangerous to literature. Rage can kill literature. The risk is real. Virginia Woolf’s diagnosis of the flaw in the genius of Charlotte Bronte has not escaped me. For me he’s the poet of passionate yearning. The poet who refuses spiritual mediocrity even when the intensity of his fury warps him. For me he’s related to the Dostoyevsky organ in my body. I’ve been reading men all my life, and maybe I’m wrong to feel slaked by a swallow of truth even when things start to get kind of blind, or cruel, or hilariously cruel. But I think people need to learn to take ugly from people other than the Frederick Seidels and Bukowskis of the world (though let me say for the record I think the latter is vastly superior to the former.) I love the passionate heart in his work and I don’t want to live in a culture too weak to withstand the fury it deserves. Medea murdered her children and the culture had to understand why. May he rest in peace. He made me want to be more, so much more, always more, and not to worm up into the fear that’s supposed to keep us all down & quaking. Fuck the people who think the things he said about gay men and Jews are reason enough to ghettoize his entire oeuvre. I want to believe that for future generations his work will be understood as equally essential to a diagram of the human soul— not just the Black soul, or a record of Twentieth Century African American struggles, but the human soul— as that of literature’s other great challengers and denouncers of hypocrisy. Poets don’t have to be your best friend. And they really REALLY don’t need to be right all the time, as long as when they’re right they’re SO right. Rimbauds, Dickinsons, Wanda Colemans, Artauds. I think he put a lot of his own fears into his writing— fears about women, fears about how to engage with white supremacist culture, which both rewarded and marginalized him. And for me that’s tenderness. That’s bravery. It’s the kind of bravery that’s quixotic. It’s a way of being doomed in a noble way. It gives me courage, but it’s a bad example. It gives me courage, and it’s a bad example. It’s poetic.
This. Especially, “I don’t want to live in a culture too weak to withstand the fury it deserves.”