I read an interesting comment on a New York Times article about 'greatness' in modern poetry on Edward Byrne's blog and it got me thinking about greatness in general.
The basic thesis of the original article by David Orr is that poets today are living in the shadow of the greatness of a bygone era. It questions what exactly greatness is and who can achieve it.
I really interested in our quest for greatness, and our quest for discovering greatness. There seems to be a hunger to know what is really, truly great - to define it, pin it up and glory in it.
But what is great? Is it something which speaks into our time, or something which challenges the status quo, perhaps it requires invention and originality, is it whatever the majority deems to be great? Or perhaps what the powerful minority deems to be great - a means of exclusion?
Whatever greatness is, we all want to know it, to be in on the big greatness secret. If Robert Lowell is declared to be the greatest poet of his generation, we want to read his work, and see for ourselves just how great he is. We want to be on the inside of the claim.
Or, we want to know what makes a great coffee, and we will pursue it until we achieve it. We will study the art of coffee making and desire to know greatness in coffee.
Likewise, design bloggers will pursue greatness is design, and desire to be the first to uncover it on their blogs.
Why do we have this obsession with uncovering, revelling in and being part of greatness?
photo: hyperakt prints: Deroy Peraza