December 29th, 2009 / 11:30 pm
Behind the Scenes

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92 Comments

  1. gena

      the time on here always fucks me up.

  2. gena

      the time on here always fucks me up.

  3. Ken Baumann

      not obscure enough.

  4. Ken Baumann

      not obscure enough.

  5. gena

      for some reason i imagine paul and darby whispering their above comments to each other. it’s cool.

  6. gena

      for some reason i imagine paul and darby whispering their above comments to each other. it’s cool.

  7. Paul

      we’re practicing for our big camping trip next weekend

  8. Paul

      we’re practicing for our big camping trip next weekend

  9. Paul

      hi ken.

  10. Paul

      hi ken.

  11. Mimi Vaquer

      My 8th grade students think that accessible poetry “doesn’t count.” They’re programmed to think that poetry requires 10 readings to glean any meaning whatsoever, and thus most of them are completely turned off by it. When I assign poetry that they actually understand upon first reading, they give me baffled looks and seem to think that their previous teachers have somehow been subjecting them to gratuitous torture.

      Poetry doesn’t have to be a word game that leads a reader to through a labyrinth of dead ends. I often find inaccessible poetry fairly amateurish — as though the writer feels that the abstract is key and gives no concrete keyhole through which to climb. It seems like these folks define poetry by what they were handed in school. They remember obscurity and think this is what the reader is looking for.

  12. Mimi Vaquer

      My 8th grade students think that accessible poetry “doesn’t count.” They’re programmed to think that poetry requires 10 readings to glean any meaning whatsoever, and thus most of them are completely turned off by it. When I assign poetry that they actually understand upon first reading, they give me baffled looks and seem to think that their previous teachers have somehow been subjecting them to gratuitous torture.

      Poetry doesn’t have to be a word game that leads a reader to through a labyrinth of dead ends. I often find inaccessible poetry fairly amateurish — as though the writer feels that the abstract is key and gives no concrete keyhole through which to climb. It seems like these folks define poetry by what they were handed in school. They remember obscurity and think this is what the reader is looking for.

  13. shaun

      poetry needs to be more METAL and more inTENSE

  14. shaun

      poetry needs to be more METAL and more inTENSE

  15. james yeh

      fuck poets

  16. james yeh

      fuck poets

  17. mjm

      yes. fuck us, please. we’re good lays.

  18. mjm

      yes. fuck us, please. we’re good lays.

  19. Merzmensch

      Thesis: To make poetry accessible means to destroy poetry.
      Antithesis: If poetry is accessible, it’s… ehm… accessible.
      Synthesis: …fill out this form

  20. Merzmensch

      Thesis: To make poetry accessible means to destroy poetry.
      Antithesis: If poetry is accessible, it’s… ehm… accessible.
      Synthesis: …fill out this form

  21. frank donald goodish

      nice, mimi. inacessible fiction and poetry makes me feel small and sad, like i’m back in elementary school and no one will tell me why i should be seeing things like everyone else.

  22. frank donald goodish

      nice, mimi. inacessible fiction and poetry makes me feel small and sad, like i’m back in elementary school and no one will tell me why i should be seeing things like everyone else.

  23. Sean

      Poetry is basically clouds. Read the clouds.

  24. Sean

      Poetry is basically clouds. Read the clouds.

  25. Matt Jasper

      I love Sean’s definition:”Poetry is basically clouds. Read the clouds.”

      There’s a sort of purity to dispensing with the front-loading & framing that signals and orients a reader with cues to enter the poem here, see it this way, get to the obvious poetic climax, congratulate yourself on “getting” a meaning so damned spelled out and literal that it hasn’t sent its needle through any fabric at all. There are of course similar cues and nods toward prevailing styles that help a thing be seen. Some framing seems helpful yet I think the bulk of what’s out there will collapse around whatever core it had, if any.

      Frameless construction is different than willful obscurity or solipsistic spewings yet it is often dismissed because a quick look declares it senseless or not up to prevailing standards. By pre-collapsing itself it is a response to the overwhelming multiplicity of life–an internalization, a sort of pinhole camera at work inside some dark canister.

      I’ve condemned a few fine writers by not seeing what the hell they were up to. I’ve been accused of obscurity and inaccessibility by people too conventionally habituated to see that I am writing about obscurity and inaccessibility with an isomorphism required by the topic (more specifically, the obsessive and private worlds of schizophrenia).

      Who have you condemned to hell and then drawn back up to perch upon your angelic shoulder? Who is the most apparently or actually senseless writer you’ve read?

  26. Matt Jasper

      I love Sean’s definition:”Poetry is basically clouds. Read the clouds.”

      There’s a sort of purity to dispensing with the front-loading & framing that signals and orients a reader with cues to enter the poem here, see it this way, get to the obvious poetic climax, congratulate yourself on “getting” a meaning so damned spelled out and literal that it hasn’t sent its needle through any fabric at all. There are of course similar cues and nods toward prevailing styles that help a thing be seen. Some framing seems helpful yet I think the bulk of what’s out there will collapse around whatever core it had, if any.

      Frameless construction is different than willful obscurity or solipsistic spewings yet it is often dismissed because a quick look declares it senseless or not up to prevailing standards. By pre-collapsing itself it is a response to the overwhelming multiplicity of life–an internalization, a sort of pinhole camera at work inside some dark canister.

      I’ve condemned a few fine writers by not seeing what the hell they were up to. I’ve been accused of obscurity and inaccessibility by people too conventionally habituated to see that I am writing about obscurity and inaccessibility with an isomorphism required by the topic (more specifically, the obsessive and private worlds of schizophrenia).

      Who have you condemned to hell and then drawn back up to perch upon your angelic shoulder? Who is the most apparently or actually senseless writer you’ve read?

  27. Matt Cozart

      yikes

  28. Matt Cozart

      yikes

  29. Matt Jasper

      (“I often find inaccessible poetry fairly amateurish — as though the writer feels that the abstract is key and gives no concrete keyhole”)

      I’m glad the word “often” qualifies the above (which I can agree with in many but not all contexts) as it is easy to go too far in this direction and declare a dead end at the limits of the reader’s comprehension. Much of what is considered inaccessible is not abstract, but actually at a level of specificity that is so strewn with realia that the objects and content take on a meaning much more specific than language is capable of in less broken down forms.

  30. Matt Jasper

      (“I often find inaccessible poetry fairly amateurish — as though the writer feels that the abstract is key and gives no concrete keyhole”)

      I’m glad the word “often” qualifies the above (which I can agree with in many but not all contexts) as it is easy to go too far in this direction and declare a dead end at the limits of the reader’s comprehension. Much of what is considered inaccessible is not abstract, but actually at a level of specificity that is so strewn with realia that the objects and content take on a meaning much more specific than language is capable of in less broken down forms.

  31. Lincoln

      I see what you did there

  32. Lincoln

      I see what you did there

  33. Joseph Young

      does the argument presuppose a poet has any choice in being obscure or not?

  34. Joseph Young

      does the argument presuppose a poet has any choice in being obscure or not?

  35. keith n b

      can you elaborate on the idea of ‘frameless construction’, and secondly how that relates to what you call ‘pre-collapsing’?

  36. keith n b

      can you elaborate on the idea of ‘frameless construction’, and secondly how that relates to what you call ‘pre-collapsing’?

  37. Daniel

      Just read it if you like it. And if you don’t, stop reading.

  38. Daniel

      Just read it if you like it. And if you don’t, stop reading.

  39. Matt Jasper

      My men will type out a four page lucubration and send it to you via postal mail. They were being kind of silly above but probably meant capturing and being the described to such an extent that self-forgetfulness blurs the line between authorship and animism or a living language–just leaves the writing to do as it will without as much reference to a purely human scale of meaning as a reader might like. To pre-collapse is to see that everything has already died and been raptured into a kaleidoscopic collage that replaces individuality with a self of selves so complicated that simple assertions and literal truth are met by the figurative and living underpinnings. The reductive logic that allows naming is gutted as in this Hart Crane poem:

      A Name for All

      by Hart Crane
      Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page
      And still wing on, untarnished of the name
      We pinion to your bodies to assuage
      Our envy of your freedom—we must maim

      Because we are usurpers, and chagrined—
      And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
      Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
      But we must die, as you, to understand.

      I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
      As only they can praise, who build their days
      With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
      Struck free and holy in one Name always.

      That poem is built not by individual components stacked, yet by a bleeding of all into all that is just as smashed as it is reassembled. The interdependence of reference and connectedness makes each part a microcosm of the whole so an odd unity arises that is beyond the logic or sense of the poem. The construction method attains something like that of a hologram. You can break the etched glass of a hologram to bits and slant any one part of what remains to see the entire picture once again. The drive for this type of interdependence and indestructibility can arise from paranoia, loss, real contemplation of and immersion in what unity means etc. Because we will crumble along with our frames of reference, much of what endures will have passed through an eyelet that smashes more obvious structures yet allows embedded, formed (as in “form”) , and seemingly senseless things to endure. The above poem is a fine example of this, as is Scorch Atlas. They fit through the eyelet. This means that dead people can read them too.

  40. Matt Jasper

      My men will type out a four page lucubration and send it to you via postal mail. They were being kind of silly above but probably meant capturing and being the described to such an extent that self-forgetfulness blurs the line between authorship and animism or a living language–just leaves the writing to do as it will without as much reference to a purely human scale of meaning as a reader might like. To pre-collapse is to see that everything has already died and been raptured into a kaleidoscopic collage that replaces individuality with a self of selves so complicated that simple assertions and literal truth are met by the figurative and living underpinnings. The reductive logic that allows naming is gutted as in this Hart Crane poem:

      A Name for All

      by Hart Crane
      Moonmoth and grasshopper that flee our page
      And still wing on, untarnished of the name
      We pinion to your bodies to assuage
      Our envy of your freedom—we must maim

      Because we are usurpers, and chagrined—
      And take the wing and scar it in the hand.
      Names we have, even, to clap on the wind;
      But we must die, as you, to understand.

      I dreamed that all men dropped their names, and sang
      As only they can praise, who build their days
      With fin and hoof, with wing and sweetened fang
      Struck free and holy in one Name always.

      That poem is built not by individual components stacked, yet by a bleeding of all into all that is just as smashed as it is reassembled. The interdependence of reference and connectedness makes each part a microcosm of the whole so an odd unity arises that is beyond the logic or sense of the poem. The construction method attains something like that of a hologram. You can break the etched glass of a hologram to bits and slant any one part of what remains to see the entire picture once again. The drive for this type of interdependence and indestructibility can arise from paranoia, loss, real contemplation of and immersion in what unity means etc. Because we will crumble along with our frames of reference, much of what endures will have passed through an eyelet that smashes more obvious structures yet allows embedded, formed (as in “form”) , and seemingly senseless things to endure. The above poem is a fine example of this, as is Scorch Atlas. They fit through the eyelet. This means that dead people can read them too.

  41. keith n b

      yes, but reductive logic can also be a procreative logic by enabling the movement from pre-differentiation to multiplicity, from a formless mass of seething flux into a kaleidoscopic crystallization of pattern-emerging forms. the error of the reductive i believe is to then equate the multiplicity (as neatly stacked in their tupperware self-containments) with the fullness of being that approaches the holographic nature you mention. whereas the error of the cosmic-eyed (as expressed by hart crane) is one of a romantic throwback to a pre-rational innocence, which i think never existed in the first place. but perhaps your ‘self of selves’ goes beyond what i consider to be crane’s romantic regression to something else, as you say, approaching a transrational intricacy that involves not mere dissolution of self but a two-way prismatization of selves, in which the specturm and the whole light co-exist each with their identities intact and, even to a certain extent, superimosed.

      i’m really digging your articulations (although i feel a cleaner delineation of the mystical from the applicable might be possible) and very much look forward to your hand-held lucubrations.

  42. keith n b

      yes, but reductive logic can also be a procreative logic by enabling the movement from pre-differentiation to multiplicity, from a formless mass of seething flux into a kaleidoscopic crystallization of pattern-emerging forms. the error of the reductive i believe is to then equate the multiplicity (as neatly stacked in their tupperware self-containments) with the fullness of being that approaches the holographic nature you mention. whereas the error of the cosmic-eyed (as expressed by hart crane) is one of a romantic throwback to a pre-rational innocence, which i think never existed in the first place. but perhaps your ‘self of selves’ goes beyond what i consider to be crane’s romantic regression to something else, as you say, approaching a transrational intricacy that involves not mere dissolution of self but a two-way prismatization of selves, in which the specturm and the whole light co-exist each with their identities intact and, even to a certain extent, superimosed.

      i’m really digging your articulations (although i feel a cleaner delineation of the mystical from the applicable might be possible) and very much look forward to your hand-held lucubrations.