I was going to start serializing a piece called the Poverty of Poetry (well, when I say serialize I mean burden blogger with my lunchtime notes towards an essay of such a title). Somehow, it isn’t in me today. Watch this space, though, it will come. Because there are many Povery’s of .. I’m sure someone has already written something with the same title. The title does have an interesting history, actually. Marx wrote a paper (which I downloaded on Kazaa Lite!) entitled “The poverty of philosophy” in response to Proudhon’s “The philosophy of poverty” . I haven’t read either piece (though I instinctively side with “Property is theft” etc) so I can’t be much help on the contents. Nevertheless, Marx’s title is crafted in direct opposition to Proudhon, thus “The Poverty of..” carries an oppositional sense. The poverty of poetry is simply an argument against typical “colonizing” measures of poetry. By this I mean that poetry tends to appropriate vocabularies or even describe other disciplines but rarely attempts to enter the practice itself. Stein did manage this to an extent with her use of grammar as a poetic response to Cubism. An example I came across recently is a piece by Christina Kubisch in which she takes lines from 18th and 19th century poetry that highlight the effect of silence and prints them onto translucent glass. The glass was then placed in the desolate enclaves in a dilapidated castle and above it is a kind of ultra-violet light that makes the words visible – kind of like those watermark readers they use to prevent counterfeiting. The light also highlights the decaying walls around them. This to me is poetry occupying a vital space. It emphasizes not just silence, which is the theme of her piece, but also the context of reading and the space in which we occupy to read. There is also the comment about decay and sound etc. In short, this is a beautiful poetry that the page cannot do. Perhaps my aspirations for poetry are too architectural, that I want poems not just boxed in books and memory but in every movement around us. I want the failing car to sputter poems. For poems to act in the shaping of buildings and streets, the hum from which is also poetry. My phone rings poems.. I don’t have to dial them up, they are in the dialing.. I leave you today on that.

No comments: