25 abr. 2006

There is a common theme running through reception to certain movements. Surrealism, Language Poetry, and Flarf come to mind. The idea is that critical response becomes impossible because the methods used to produce the texts rule out aesthetic response. Whether it be automatic writing, in the case of the surrealists, or google sculpting, in the case of flarf. The claim is made that nobody can tell good automatic writing from bad, a good flarf poem from a bad, etc...

Then a few things start to happen. People do make aesthetic judgments even in these areas. Although the practioners of any particular style aren't that interested in drawing attention to the worst manifestations, a sorting-out process does indeed take place. We no longer think Breton's poetry is unjudgeable in any meaningful sense.

Still, that initial suspension of judgment, while threatening to some, is also salutary. I want to see what someone is doing for a little while before I start assigning it a rank.

2 comentarios:

Jordan dijo...

I was talking to a certain poet about this exact necessary antinomianism this weekend - there is nothing that infuriates the common reader or the writer invested in the mainstream ideology than a movement that comes forth as a blank, a counter, a tabula rasa - all kinds of bogeylike qualities land right on the movement right at the start.

Or to put in flarfy terms

flarfin it up with a big flarfburger of aww yeah!

Jonathan dijo...


And when you say it's deliberately "bad" in a certain way they say it's a cop-out, because then nothing can be bad! Take away people's bad poetry from them and they get very testy. (That is, take away their idea that they can safely identify something as "bad." )