Distribution Automatique

Tuesday, July 7

Mourning and Poetics

The most recent thread on the Suny Buffalo Poetics List has been mourning and poetics. This absorbing issue is concerned with poetry one might read at a time of mourning and how this reflects on issues of poetics. To read the thread in its entirety or to join the list go to:

Poetics LIst Archive
Click on July 2009 on topic headings: poetics and mourning.

Today I posted the following as a contribution to that thread:

This is one of those threads that gets me thinking, and I've been looking forward to every post. I've not read them all, so I apologize if I am repeating anything. Eight years ago when someone I felt particularly close to died, almost literally in my arms, I needed some poetry that would help. What met my need at the time was Lynn Dreyer's book The White Museum (Roof,1986). Here's a sample: Lynn Dreyer. Something about its heartbeat, its wave-like backbeat, soothed me, the way a mother might rock a child during a stricken moment. That episode of choice in reading pushed me towards thinking about writing as healing, an issue that's been on my mind ever since.

Much of post-avant writing, obviously, employs parody, often of a particularly biting kind. It's no surprise that at a time of ear splitting, mind smashing hypocrisies and assaults on a social/political level that some of our best minds might want to address such grotesque realties in ways that accurately reflect them when modes of earnestness or literal or symbolic or abstract statement, what I once called writing below the din, won't suffice.

At a time of personal crisis, what one might want, what I wanted as I said, are truthful yet gentle words, singing, compassionate, and yes, even quiet words. Still, such occasional personal needs probably do not justify a dominant poetics of quietism in an ongoing way. There is something reassuring and stimulating about experiencing a number of relatively newer voices work to invent and persist with new forms that convincingly reflect the impossibility of accepting as such the eco-socio-political realities we are forced to live in right now. The post avant employs a biting, confrontational voice that says, to me anyway, don't give up trying to dispassionately recognize and reveal what that reality is, as painfully traumatic, as incessantly quotidian as it is coming to be. Forms that meet that continuous nightmare face to face, as unimaginable as it is, or was. Is the most relevant issue in contemporary poetics hegemony, or power, or is it which model, the quietist or the post-avant, suggests the more apropos interpretation of current reality as it actually presents itself?

Either way, life's needs are inordinately complex, and issues of poetic movement aside, one size will not always fit all.
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New Links

Check out:

Contemporary LIterary Horizon

Drunken Boat 10

I Am A TV Junkie-Rachel Maddow's Big Catch Thanks for the link!

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Caterina, one of the pioneer bloggers, who helped create Flikr, has created a new site, Hunch.

Here is the poet category: Hunch Poets