Distribution Automatique

Monday, February 23

"The project of a hybridization or con-fusion of genres which
Ponge's texts share with Bloch's *Spuren*, the paradigmatic
texts of the modern prose poem tradition we have previously
examined, and Schlegel's notion of a *Universalpoesie* suggests
two directions running counter to each other: on the one hand,
a utopian aspiration toward oneness: on the other,a perhaps
equally utopian drive toward the greatest possible difference and
diversity, a breakdown of rigid categorical distinctions. A total
homogenization of the "universal" threatens the one: a total
fragmentation threatens the other. Ponge's texts are themselves,
as he himself has acknowledged, "very diverse, contradictory,
varied as to form...in *Le Parti pris des choses* there is a little
of everything: there are closed texts, there are open texts; each
one proposes as well an *ars poetica*" (CC. 411-12). Although
Ponge displays at times a nostalgia for the Book, he has himself
said that for the most part he is concerned with *texts* (CC, 426).
In other words, although Ponge sometimes entertains thoughts of
a singular coherence of separate texts on some formal or other unity,
more often he focuses his attention on particular phenomena, on the
individual rather than the collective. What the prose poem leads Ponge
to is less Schlegel's goal of a universal poetry than the nominalist
fragmentation suggested by Schlegel's polemical contention that
"every poem is a genre in itself" (*Jedes Gedich eine Gattung fur sich*)...
In order to contruct a new unity allowing for the greatest possible diversity
and difference, the poverty of received forms and the speciousness of any
notion of an already given, preexistent unity must first be exposed. The
possibility of a universal poetry must pass, in other words, *through* the
fragmented world of prose, not around it..."

Jonathan Monroe, *A Poverty of Objects: The Prose Poem
and The Politics of Genre*
Cornell UP, 1987
(from Chapter 8, *Fragments of a World
Restored: Francis Ponge's "Rhetoric of
Objects", pp 245-246)