Sunday, October 5, 2008
Poetry, Etcetera: Cleaning House; and "Issue 1" - the "polite clarification" = back to po-biz as usual, I take it?
Let us note that recourse to a new screenic, interactive and multimedia art does not protect against poetic “old-fashionedness”. It could even disguise it.
There are never exhausted poetic forms, just exhausted versions of forms.
If the formal conditions of a poetry are soft and blurry, poetic individualities are slow to emerge. The Surrealists are all interchangeable, as soon as we peek beneath violent surface variability. Later, the feeling of déjà vu predominates. The sonnet is a different story: the first superficial feeling is that of resemblance. Next, we realize deep actual variability.
The avant-garde gesture is a gesture of destruction / liberation. But the liberating gesture conceals the poverty of the Tabula Rasa gesture. The avant garde gesture is condemned to repeat itself. It quickly becomes parrotry. Because tradition is not actually destroyed. You can’t put a poetic tradition before the firing squad.
Amnesia was never a good thing, even and especially when it affected revolutionaries. Now, forms that were supposedly destroyed survive, especially in the poetry memory of the avant-gardist himself.
Exclusive positions omit one essential fact: the poetry of the past is also a present poetry.
-- Jacques Roubaud, distilled and reassembled from pages 137-180 of Poetry, Etcetera: Cleaning House by Vivek Narayanan, who reviews it on Todd Swift's blog.
Issue 1 : Click here for the "polite clarification." Back to po-biz as usual, I take it.