The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


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 .


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