Distribution Automatique

Sunday, February 22

"Like the fragment, the prose poem presents an analogon of a
complete work gesturing toward the utopian nonplace of a collective
labor that would constitute a reconstruction of the individual subject
and of the subject of humanity as a whole (AL, 373). It is both the
promise of what Francis Ponge will call the *Grand Oeuvre* and the sign
of its continued absence. In shifting the site from verse to prose of
the critique of the idealist subject of poetry and the dominant class
which is necessary to give *form* to such an *oeuvre*, Schlegel's
fragments and Baudelaire's prose poetry provide not so much
a "poetry of poetry"-the subject's critique of itself "from within"-
as a concretization of the *inter*subjective
nature of the *intra*subjectve. They thus offer not so much an
illumination of the self *by itself* (alone and self-sufficient)
as an illumination of the discourses that surround, traverse
and overdetermine it and from which it cannot finally retreat-as
Baudelaire's "A une heure du matin" trenchantly suggests- into
sublime isolation....If what constitutes the subject per se is
nothing other than the self-engendering power of its own discourse
(AL, 392), both the fragment and the prose poem call attention to
the fact that the discourse of any given subject is never really
self-engendering or absolutely autonomous but is instead inextricably
bound up with the discourses of others. Both the fragment and the
prose poem offer a critique of the world of prose with a view to making
poetry possible again through a rejection of the uncritical reproduction
of either poetry or prose in isolation. Their critique constitutes nothing
less, in other words, than an attempted reconstruction of a unity
that is missing in the chaotic fragmentation of the modern world,
a reparation of the world..."

Jonathan Monroe, *A Poverty of Objects: The Prose Poem and
The Politics of Genre*
Cornell UP, 1987 (pps 69-70)
(from Chapter 1
*Universalpoesie* as Fragment:
Friedrich Schlegel and the Prose