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Showing posts from November, 2007

From "Lines out of Space"

how was your day?

now darker I wrote this later
[leave space up top for cataphoric reiteration] such is the gamble
throw what if the saying of it can’t fill this obscure whiteness? inexhaustible streaming whose source whomsoever stakes a claim mist shrouds the brow call it a hill if you will but brow still stands black birds peck roads this was, at the finish, what we all agreed on having seen if it was made up I didn’t make it up but I made you up
one animal’s sharp cry “ ” somehow delimits this shapeless grey occasioning of the passable irrevocable day so they say anyway best thing is to deny having anything to do with it that way your arse is covered either way if anyone asks thrown down the paged reconstruction hollow soled boots on the wooden platform everything is meaningful in that it happened now much lighter I wrote this earlier real writers probably feel the tool-heft asks “do you know the name of these flowers?” furrowed is a word, double letter score the pattern that is made b…

Teaching Experimental Postmodern Poetics

While is is fairly easy to the my students to understand that postmodern poetry is a form of critique of normative poetic strategies of the 20th century, often I find that, in an odd way, they don't necessarily see such strategies as normative. They are not normal for them in that way that for most normal people poetry is totally abnormal. I am them left with the need to teach them what normal is so they can see why Ashbery is not normal. Anyway, here is one way I do it. I usually illustrate first with a poem by Heaney, "Digging" "Death of a Naturalist" something horribly late-Romantic. Then get them to read some O'Hara and Ashbery. It always works. Normative poetry is called variously traditional, realist, late-Romantic, free-verse or voice poetics

Elements of The traditional poem:
Titular Law: the title announces the meaning
Formal regularity and coherence
Thematic coherence
Significant Lineation (rhyme or strong enjambment)
Coherence (narrative, logic, sy…

Bernstein, "The Klupzy Girl"

This crib is based on my lecture and seminar notes for teaching this poen to students who have little or no experience of experimental poetry

Like in Koch’s “A Time Zone” poem seems to take place on a bus as poet travels to Boston,probably from New York (3 hour journey)

Opening 20 or so lines are a series of statements to do with modes of expression: poetry, parables, deciphering, protest, alibis, telepathy, epistles, phrasemongering, evocation, explanations, glossing

Self-referentiality: regularly calls attention to the experience of reading the poem or poetry itself: poetry is like a swoon, his parables, not gymnastic: pyrotechnic, perfume scented, enacting, thoughtlessly, glossings of reality seemed like stretching it to cover ground

Techniques: lineation at odds with sentences, gaps between sentences result not in narrative or cohesion but confusion, cohesion instead comes from association, repetition, randomness and self-referentiality; good deal of caesura use or interruptions withi…