Friday, 5 April 2013

Official Avant-Garde Culture

In his bracing 6200-word dismantling of Charles Bernstein's career, Jason Guriel takes a minute to ask a few questions:
How does a Language poet know when her poem is finished, or at least ready for the typesetter? (It strikes me that a non-linear and non-representational poetry of fragments that resist closure could go on forever.) Does a Language poem end where it does because its author got winded and, well, a poem has to end somewhere? What does her revision process look like? Why is it “Surfeit, sure fight,” and not “Sure fight, surfeit”? Why couldn’t the lines in “Solidarity Is the Name We Give to What We Cannot Hold” and “Let’s Just Say” be shuffled into a different order and still enable the reader to come up with the same point about the wobbliness of words? And if the lines can be shuffled into a different order, why should the reader read the poems at all? And why does the Language poet keep writing them, once she’s got a few under her belt? How many Language poems does it take to unscrew the signified from the signifier?
(Drawing from "Mini Gross Sketches")

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Incredibly cute how Guriel uses female pronouns throughout the piece when the current Parnassus Review is around 80% by and about men.