Monday, August 23, 2004


Muutamia sitaatteja Charles Bernsteinin esseestä "Stray straws and straw men" (1976).

"Such poetry [Ron Silliman`s] emphasizes its medium as being constructed, rule governed, everywhere circumscribed by grammar and syntax, chosen vocabulary: designed, manipulated, picked, programmed, organized, & so an artifice, artifact - monadic, solipsistic, homemade, manufactured, mechanized, formulaic, willful.
"Technical artifice" they scream, as if poetry doesn`t demand a technical precision.
Compare/ these two views/ of what/ poetry/ is:
In the one, an instance (a recording perhaps) of reality or fantasy or experience or event is presented to us through the writing.
In the other, the writing itself is seen as an instance of reality or reality or experience or event.
What I want to call attention to is that there is no natural writing style; that the preference for its supposed manifestations is simply a preference for a particular look to poetry & often a particular vocabulary (usually perceived as personal themes); that this preference (essentially a procedural decision to work within a certain domain sanctified into a rite of poetry) actually obscures the understanding of the work which appears to be its honoured bases; & especially that the cant of "make it personal" & "let it flow" are avoidances - by mystification - of some very compelling problems that swirl around truthtelling, confession, bad faith, false self, authenticity, virtue etc.
Whatever gets written gets written in a particular shape, uses a particular vocabulary & syntax, & a variety of chosen techniques. Whether its shape, syntax & vocabulary result from an attraction (or ideological attachment to) the organic & spontaneous, or to some other look, it is equally chosen. Sometimes this process takes place intuitively or unconsciously (the pull of influence comes in here since somewhere in the back of your mind are models for what looks natural, personal, magical, mystical, spontaneous, automatic, dream-like, confessional, didactic, shocking.)
There is no natural look or sound to a poem. Every element is intended, chosen. That is what makes a thing a poem. Modes cannot be escaped, but they can be taken for granted. They can also be meant. [---]"

Vassokuu. Illalla Huvilatelttaan, siis, mars!

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