Monday, September 12, 2005

Lest I be seen as a "no ideas but in affect" radical I should break my silver rule and offer context for a change.

I'm not all that worried, any more, about a few persistently down-affect poets bumming me the hell out. I gave up the concept of poetry as a we-they team sport, and instantly I enjoyed reading again.

Have I totally given up a competitive name-checking conversational style? I'll answer that with a question: do I still live in New York? writing reviews?

If, starting with Mallarmé and Valery, poetry relocated home base from ideas to words, then we spent a hundred-some years feeling what that was like. The dissatisfaction I feel with this approach to making art out of words isn't all that's leading me to try to ground my work elsewhere -- but I've talked enough about that here, and besides, it's time for me to make some boundaries. (Relax, it'll be more rather than less fun.)

Affect, feeling, whatever term you like to name the category of feelings-that-come-through-when-you-read: these obtain to words, ideas, representations of social relationships (especially power dynamics).

If the drift everyone ends up taking is a neo-metaphysical return to conceits and passional argument, great (and by everyone, I mean the writers who end up making the pieces we all can't stop absorbing into our responses to the world). I'm not calling that election.

I'm saying that right now, the feelings I get from poems are the indicators I read of the health of this collective effort of all us reading and writing to say something obsessively beautiful and meaningful (or its opposite -- same thing, really). I don't know about you, but I'm feeling all my crazed ambition turning back toward just doing one thing at a time. I'm getting that feeling from everybody else's poetry, too.

Jordan - #




I'm Jordan Davis.
I write a lot.
I mention it here.

Say hi: jordan [at] jordandavis [dot] com.

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