Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It is [poetry] because I say it is

"Poetry is that which occurs within the institution of poetry. That is to say, form is not inherently important, words are not necessarily significant, language is utterly irrelevant, 'I''s can be put out with impunity, there can be nothing but thick-skinned idiotic literality, and [yet] it is still poetry because it exists as poetry." -Vanessa Place, "A poetics of radical evil"

Place hones in on the exact "place" where has lately been my poetic consideration: the frame of art. Of course, she's done the terrific scholarship (and creative output) that I wish to initiate, but the genius of conceptualism's "unoriginality"/"uncreativity" is that, as John Cage responded to the remark that 'anybody could do that,': "Yeah, but I did." A page from the phone book is simply that, until someone blows it up or submits it to a literary journal, at which point, if given to momentous circulation among the right people, it takes on the (whether Charles Bernstein likes it or not) "honorific" classification of Poetry. I'm not summarizing her short, lucid essay (anyway, you should read it whether or not I do summarize it), nor am I remotely conveying what she delineates as "radical evil," but I'm simply appropriating a quote for my own hackneyed (and yet still developing) poetic/political agenda. And there is a lot more to be savored in this the latest (3rd) issue of Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry & Opinion. New work by Marjorie Perloff, Derek Beaulieu, Augusto de Campos, Cole Swenson, Aleksandr Skidan, Susan McCabe, and more!

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