8 jul. 2009

I re-read Fenollosa's "The Chinese Written Character" again yesterday. I couldn't believe how naive the underlying theory of language was in this seminal text--naive to the point of stupidity in the privileging of transitive verbs and subject verb object word-order. The orientalizing gaze of Pound and Fenollosa is almost unbearable. What is most unbearable is that opinions of Chinese scholars are never cited frequently enough, that there really isn't a depth of knowledge here adequate to the task at hand.

I also spent some time with some Twombly catalogues and a huge, recent Yale UP book of Chinese calligraphy. My ideas are coming together nicely.

Concrete poetry also seems kind of naive and hokey to me--most of it. Wouldn't it make sense that if I only like 10% of poetry that I would also only like 10% of visual and concrete poetry? What I don't like is the regressive move back toward naive mimesis, when the aim should be to move in the opposite direction, toward abstraction in both language and the visual, iconic sign. Here I'll bring in John Yau's point about Creeley's abstract language in his catalogue of Creeley's collaborations.

This chapter of the book is going to end up being the center in a way I hadn't anticipated, taking me in new directions.

There are four direction in which modern poetry re-emphasizes visuality:

(1) The hypervisuality of imagism and related movements.

(2) The dedication to the printed or type-written page.

(3) The exploration of typography for its own sake, as an extension of (2).

(4) The collaborative impulse, reaching out to forms of visual art.

1 comentario:

Vance Maverick dijo...

I don't think the bogosity of the theory in Fenollosa/Pound invalidates it as a poetic program. Are there artistic manifestoes with firmer grounding?

Thanks for the book, BTW, which arrived here yesterday.