Wednesday, March 01, 2006

In the POOL with Dean

There's a short but provocative interview with Dean Young in the latest issue of POOL. Whatever you may think of his poetry, the excerpt below seems to be getting at something:

"I've said this before: we've had over a hundred years of experimentation and it's time for results. The "experiment" began with clear objectives of resistance, be it through Dada sabotage, surrealist blasphemy or irrational assertion. Jacques Roubaud, writing about OULIPO, pointed out that resistant art is dependent upon that which it resists; it functions primarily as critique. While that isn't always true (America especially will always have its rebels without causes), it does point towards why I find so much of what is flashing its experimental gang signs uncompellingly: the resistance has become rather old hat (to the coherent self, to the authority of the author, to the supposedly implicit and guilty biases of language itself as well as the whole capitalist/bourgeois ball of voting booths) and of blurred objectives. When all the fences have been knocked down, it doesn't seem to be very impressive to pretend you're jumping them. While matters in society remain to be resisted, matters in poetry definetly not so much. The critique to past formalities and aesthetics has done its work, and it seems time to enter a period of recuperation. The poetics of inclusion (thank you for happening) has led to a formlessness, because to a great extent form is created by exclusion, by the presence of a decision. What is inside (which creates / defines shape) is clarified by what has been made to be outside. A sort of post-modern sentimentalism also assumes an a priori ruin of culture, self, history and language that has become unexamined. Much experimental writing is called poetry by default; it can't be published or shelved as any other genre and that doesn't strike me as a very positive approach to the art. So frightened of being repetitive (when reinteration has always been one of art's tasks and opportunities), the experimental is also sentimental in its fetish for novelty (ooh, let's put all the consonants on one page and the vowels on the other, no one's done that before!) and makes a mockery of the Apoollonairian call for invention. This clamoring for the new leads to the scarification of amazement. It doesn't take much reasoning to see how experimental writing is responsible for the hole in the ozone and the fact that menus have so many occult adjectives on them. And while this is anecdotal, I feel it qualifies as important evidence: I have seen on more than one occassion, experimental writers leaving the restroom without washing their hands. They think epidemiology is a construct."

1 comment:

Michael said...

Have you thought about asking Dean for a poem for CUE? Ya should. David Berman too.