Friday, November 1, 2013

Form in Poems and the Visual New

I am no older than when I was young except in certain details. The details are not certain of themselves, but others are I suppose. Scientists and other writers of fact are bound to be certain of such things.

But I am no older, for I am no different. All the facts have changed, this is true, and I have "aged" in the conventional sense, my dear writers/scientists, but I am no older.

For I am not an I that can age. The I I am is the same I it was when I was twenty years of age.

That takes care of that.

To the purpose of this forum, this blog - which I take to be an immensely ribboning, cascading monument to the human capacity of persistence in the absence of an other indicator; to our purpose, dear reader, my statements of "I" are nothing compared to our constant address of form as we inquire into its nature, as we seek its newer incarnations. As we contrast and compare.

And then, as we expect something. I am forever (or constantly) seeing received prosodic forms in current poems, bastardized of course, and never so unique as the writer might hope, but they are there nonetheless. And this is because the writer has read a lot of sonnets, for one example, and the form emerges from that glomming, or because the form itself is something perfectly inherent.

That is, when we write poems, we tend to write in one of the received forms.

I believe this, of course. It would be foolish of me not to. I am a poet, a fairly well-read and well-educated one, and I am a formalist. Not of received forms per se, but of the block form I work in.

But I am not a scholar, and I do not delight in stating the apparent. I like to believe that a thing means something. And that if the meaning is more or less apparent, that another meaning lurks. And then, because I am not even a clever scholar, I like to go outwards to what you might call a philosophical or metaphysical or even moralist vantage point, and ask Why?

Matching almost precisely my opportunities or experiences of reading new poems are instances of doubt and dismay. That so much effort to interest and inform seems oblivious to the form of display and the effect that has on the overall message.

But. I am also not a critic. In any event, I prefer to view others' work as serving some positive purpose, if only to keep the writer from a life of utter drudgery.

So, in the world of form, I see two camps that I care to recognize (I have no use for anyone who thins writing in received forms is "poetical" in itself. That is pathetic). One the one hand, we have successful accomplished modern writers who to a varying degree understand what they are doing. On the other, we have visual poets, who are taking poetic forms, their representations and presentations, into new territory.

And, so, I turn to the Concrete Formalist Poetry website, which has become a playground for visual poets. Clearly, I am delighted. I have no hope for the written poetic word except as I hope for the best of anything, anywhere, at any time. But the visually-oriented poet is doing something different, I think. Something potentially fresh, with implications for a world that is cascading forward into new tactile realms. And, so, I see my work as a kind of iteration of foundations. Brickwork. Non-acculturated stone.

May it serve its purpose. Whatever anyone conceives that to be. I do not expcet to grow any older in my hope that anything I write goes any further than this: not to write is a crime.

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