March was a terrible month, sorry for not posting much. I should have more time from now on.. In January (or Feb?) I was trying to work out what Cubism in poetry actually meant. I heard some comment to the effect that one had to realize the relationship between geometry and grammar to be able to write a cubist poem.. It finally dawned on me as I read, half-asleep, a WC Williams essay on Stein. What Stein arguably does is to ‘skirt’ around an idea grammatically, thus creating a kind of multiple perspective a la Cubism. Take this example from my favorite complete Stein poem “If I told him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso” If I told him would he like it. Would he like it if I told him. Would he like it would Napoleon would Napoleon would would he like it. If Napoleon if I told him if I told him if Napoleon. Would he like it if I told him if I told him if Napoleon. Would he like it if Napoleon if Napoleon if I told him. If I told him if Napoleon if Napoleon if I told him. If I told him would he like it would he like it if I told him. I liked the sound of this so much I never took the time to think about it in the terms I should have! I do not think Stein took a scientific approach to this though, I am sure sound dictated the structure to no insignificant end. The argument with which I have still to take issue, or even look at, is that poetry exists on a different plane to the plastic arts and it is therefore more essential for the words to create an emotional or stylistic parallel.. To say another way, poetry is processed intellectually, and should therefore create a kind of intellectual plane.. I guess similar to the Stein example above. She could have simply described an object from multiple perspectives, like describing a Picasso painting, the argument may run, but instead she addresses Cubism on a level more appropriate to the medium, grammar being the parallel to geometry. This argument works in this case, I think. Using a descriptive method for Cubist poetry would have been boring for a start! I think the problematic comes when we think about the present day. Artists doing anything interesting or worth considering these days are not concerned with taboos (directly) – and those that are interested in taboo breaking we consider adolescent (Tracy Emin) or living in a society that still requires this type of expression (many of the works at the recent Under Construction rightfully fall under this category) -- but are dealing with “the future.” The future is science and the rethinking of what it is to be human. Nietzsche again demonstrated his prescience when he proclaimed that due to the death of god, we would have to make our morality anew. He predicted it would take 200 years before we could work ourselves out.. It will probably take much longer. I digress! Ermm. The problem is how does poetry approach science? The answer lies in how art has approached science. Artist use experiments, though not experiments in form (the visual arts have been there) but in communication and in environment.. What will happen to the viewer if I place this here? Very basically. Poetry now needs to be more conscious of it’s environment and words in the environment.. for a start. If many phonemes have a morphemic quality, sound itself is not just music, but meaning…I am out of time.. Later.
Architectural Body, Autopoiesis, and Language – I’m still trying to think through the review I’m writing of the Architectural Body. By focusing the review so much on poetry and poetics, I’m not entirely addressing the book itself, but on what I see as an extension of the ideas in the book. The problem is that by veering away from the main point, I’m finding myself on uncertain territory that may require me to make some assumptions that may or may not be correct. Here, briefly are the problems: • Gins says very little about language or writing in the book. She says something along the lines of “Those who rely on language alone are leaving out various scales of action’ (this quote is highly inaccurate, actually). The question is, so where or what is language? As I see it, she is drawing on the ideas of Maturana, who sees language as something as part of the environment. Thus, language is “out there” and “in here” as is our environment. Now the question, so what? • Well, if this is the case and we want to write poetry that does critique or effect some kind of change, then the poetry implied, would be a total poetry. A poetry that does not just describe or highlight, but that interacts with other scales of action. An example of this kind of poetry can be found in The Architectural Body when the artists ask us to explore the texture of the book itself. A poetry that stimulates not just a mental action but a physical action.. When avant-garde poets say they are making the reader aware of the process of reading, it seems A/G are saying they actually are making the reader aware of a process of reading.. there are other scales of action! When we read, there are children screaming (at least at my house), my toes scratch against the soles of my shoes, etc. To be aware of these things off the page is to really be aware of the process of reading. Processes are very complex things. • Somehow we’ve come to accept discreet boundaries between experiences. Perhaps this is in part the fault of language (here we are again!). But here I need to expand.. these boundaries are ostensibly useful, but then again they reinforce the idea that our experiences can be isolated. Anyone who has conducted a psychology test can tell you that it is impossible to create flawless conditions that would truly verify the data..ermm.. Now, how proscriptive do I want to be with all this? Not at all. What I want to do is suggest a possible direction..