Written in a comment string over at Harriet (under Christian Bok's post of today):
"I have a problem with the substitution of "experiment", to designate what a poet is up to, for the more modest "art" or "craft" (or "goofing around").
Also, I disagree with what seems to be a very classic Modern/Saussurian objectification and fetishization of "language" as both the means and end of the poet's task. To follow this road - as both the New Critics and the Language Poets did - tends to lead poetry into a sort of Russian-doll labyrinth of solipsism.
Aristotle - and the Chicago Critics - suggest, on the other hand, that poetry is an art of affective/intellectual GESTURE : and that the verbal texture itself is only one part of a larger, & more (critically) elusive, aesthetic whole."
& this was written in the comment string of another recent post (by Reginald Shepherd) :
"I see the "battle" in contemporary poetry as primarily a theoretical dispute among poets, not really political. This is MY battle, anyway.
I think poets took a wrong turn when they bought into the whole stream of philological theory, beginning with Saussure, I guess, down through Deconstruction - which posits language as a kind of objective phenomenon, entity, thing, ambience, system of differences, etc. etc. & what have you - rather than primarily a tool with which human beings do specific things (like pointing & communicating & describing).
The trend to identify poetry itself with language-as-system or -entity is the basic wrong turn, taken by New Critics, Postmods & Language Poets. Poetry, as I see it, is a human art, primarily involving intellectual/affective GESTURE (as I posted over on C. Bok's latest entry on this site). Language per se is only one element of a larger aesthetic whole, as Aristotle and the Chicago Critics, among others, have emphasized. I've written essays about this.
I've been "battling" for a long time in favor of a sense of poetry which underlines PARTICULARITY, SPECIFICITY, HISTORICAL ACTUALITY, HUMANISM, EMBODIMENT, PERSONAL IDENTITY, REALISM, REFERENTIALITY, DEFINITIVE ACCOUNTABILITY.... all those actual consequences of an art of indication and gesture - which tend to be "elided" when art is subsumed to some framing epistemological-linguistic "system"."