Sunday, September 11, 2005

Concrete Poetry

Yes, I said in my rant a few days ago that poetry was not a concrete structure. Unless of course it is a concrete structure, as in the work of derek beaulieu, a sampling of which can be found here. What I was objecting to in said rant, was not avant gard poetry, or concrete poetry, or performance poetry, or any kind of poetry, but rather the almost shrapnel-like poetics folks erect around their work. Poetics that define themselves around what they aren't: a negative equation to my mind.

Here's an excerpt from with wax, published by Coach House. A book I found fascinating and absolutely original and instructive. beaulieu's work is clearly mindful and continuing bp Nichol's project, often with the same sort of blend of intelligence and humour and WARMTH, as much as innovation.

I'm the first to confess to an evolving and spiraling poetic. I won't deny it, in fact I'll embrace it. I want to be as inclusive and curious as I can be in my work and reading and thinking. What makes good poetry? What is essential? Innovative? Formal or conceptual? Confessional or constraint-based? Language? Purely? Language poetry? What is that? I'm still not completely clear. Nor am I convinced yet that the lines or definitions are anywhere near where or what the brightest poetic minds are defining them to be.

Call it muddling. Call it fence-sitting. Call it what you will.
I choose to look for work that stuns me on many levels, from heart to its formal innovation. I choose to remain open. My school is what I make it.

update: please check out derek beaulieu's essay on concrete poetry here at ubu web.

No comments: