Thursday, July 20, 2006

Regarding the last post, of course most poets (most of the ones I know) would rather be writing than doing whatever it is they do to get money. I'm not alone in disliking my job. But I really would like to do something, where people generally don't notice me, and so don't get peeved too easily at me. Maybe mailboy would be nice. But if someone doesn't get their mail they'd take it out on the mailboy I'm sure.


One of Language Poetry's main innovations seems to be forefronting the process of writing a poem. Like, to put it bluntly, how the fuck did Bruce Andrews write this. Of course I'm completely ignorant about Bruce Andrews and alot of other Language Poets. And the term Language Poetry is kind of outdated and maybe was never taken that seriously by the people who are classified as such. I mean Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews edited a mag called L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, but I don' t think I've ever read anywhere where one of them said, "Well, as Language Poets, this is what we do." I know the early writing is kind of in the vein of manifesto, which turns me off from the get-go. And there is some sense of a project, a collective undertaking, but only in that the writers read each other's work and encouraged each other. Almost all writers who don't live in the mountains or something do that. LP's were maybe just more explicit in doing that.

There's alot of paranoia almost to the point of urban myth surrounding LP. I heard a story about Robert Grenier having lunch with Tom Clark. So the other 'language poets' parked in front of his (Grenier's) house as a protest. This is they story I heard. Whether its true or not really doesn't matter.

When I've taken workshops, I've heard people say things like 'well its kinda languagey' about certain poems. To me this is just code for 'I'm not gonna try and understand this'. But then if one goes into most workshops in hopes of having a really enlightening experience, they're gonna be pretty dissapointed. I had a professer who warned their students about Language Poetry, which is totally stupid and defeating what they should be doing, which is saying 'Well check it for yourself. Go investigate.' I think anyone who's dedicated will do that anyway, but it still doesn't help to have a stigma attached to something. I don't see the point of telling your students not to read something.

I don't really know why I'm spending so much time on Language Poetry. Its way in the past. A phenomenon of the late 70s and 80s. Alot of those people are still doing interesting work. But the 'Language Poetry' thing is over. The way LP was treated tho seems to be applied to 'experimental' poetry in general now. 'Experimental' seems like an even more meaningless term. There's a level at which this is all rhetoric. Throwing words around.

At the university level, poetry is regarded as part of a canon. And certain poetry is willfully left out of the canon. And you could say, "Good. I don't care whether people regard Joseph Ceravolo as in the company of someone like Robert Frost anyway." But then, right now, no Joseph Ceravolo books are in print. So one can't really say "I'll have my Ceravolo and you'll have your Frost" because Ceravolo's books are not available, except from certain university libraries and rare books rooms. Or you could look for them online. A copy of Wildflowers Out of Gas might run you hundreds of dollars. With Frost, you could find his books at any local bookstore.

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