The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

October 7, 2004

the uselessness of poems

why would one write a poem . in a poem statements are
not to be taken at face value . everything is excused
. metaphors are always broken . the tropes are torpor
describe millennia ago . abstraction and codework or
oulipo tricks are those of dying form . to bear
witness implies the necessity of clear speech . the
language is already debased . nothing will bring it
back and we all know about the problematic of origins
. nothing stops the devolution of an increasingly
minor art . there is no reason whatsoever to
teach poetry in the school system . today the
average nursery-rhyme, already antiquated, says
more about culture and cultural context than any
contemporary poet . poetics is the last refuge of
the damned, always involved in recuperation . the
code-forms of traditional poetry are permanently
lost in the virtual digital and dawning world .
statements in poems are always already hyperbole
. to speak to each other is to speak to no one .
the poetry slam at least has the virtue of
contestation . poems are fearful of the world .
the contemporary world is all we have . the last
place one looks for testimony is the poem . the
poetry of previous centuries envelops us like
good late-night television . the condensation of
kennings and waka is destroyed by the infinity of
digital type . poet on one hand, rockhop on the
other as we go out singing . don't mistake
content . cleverness is the last refuge of the
poet . happy poems make good times of us all .
what at this point is the point of searching for
the word . i begin to write a poem: i sit at a
tablet in a certain position . language swirls in
the absence of content . the world demands
nothing of the poet . writers, no readers . with
charm the poet fools the poet . the crashed world
. we are our own victims of surplus . we are our
own surplus victims .


Bernard Stollman's ESP-Disk is back in business!
Why am I excited? Because I recorded two albums with them back in the 60s,
and they're available again.
Not to mention the absolutely incredible music of Ornette Coleman, Albert
Ayler, and others.
Compared to them I'm a rank (in both senses of the word I suppose)
amateur, but still -
You can even download samples etc. - Alan

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