Robert Archambeau writes a thoughtful extended response to the blither-blather on "post-avant" over at the Harriet site (Reginald Shepherd's posts).

I tend to see the negative side of what Robert's calling "negative legislation" (the contemporary poet's refusal to judge and emphasis on the ambivalence & waywardness of language). To me it often feels like a cop-out, to the extent of denying human agency in the creation and use of language. That's one reason I'm being provocative myself (see the comment on Shepherd's anthology Lyric Postmodernisms).

But I'm not merely being negative about the negative. I'd like to replace the ubiquitous 20th-cent. fixation on "language" (as system : as the currency, the substance, the organizing matrix, of poetry) with an emphasis on silence, gesture, mime. Hart Crane's statement should be its motto: the poem is

"a single, new word, never before spoken, and impossible to actually enunciate".

A poem is, in this sense, the sum of the poet's strategic gestures toward something never-before-said or -sayable. It is absolutely uncategorizable according to any prior linguistic grid, and the poet bears complete responsibility for - is the human agent of - the final & efficient cause of - all its meanings and reverberations.

No comments: