... excerpt from a further comment, sent as addendum to Reginald Shepherd's Lyric Postmodernism post at Harriet:

"For the Chicago critics, a poem is an aesthetic SHAPE, organized primarily by plot and dramatic action, for which the language is only one of several contributing factors. I want to transpose this notion to apply to poetry in general, by positing this notion of the poet's mute GESTURE as the organizing principle of the poem's aesthetic form. Everything involved in this gesture works toward the integrity and fulfillment of Crane's "impossible" new word (which again, is not so much a verbal word, as the sum total of the aesthetic-communicative gesture).

I would say that Ashbery is the great American exemplar of the poet as de-centered self offering poetry as unaccountable discourse. This kind of practice fuses seamlessly with postmodern theoretical concepts of the status of the subject, the power of language-as-system (or language-as-differance), etc. It is this whole approach I am calling into question, with these two notions of 1) language as primarily a human invention, a tool of human agency; and 2) poetry as rooted in mime and mute communicative gesture."

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