Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bok Interview

When did poetry cease to be poetry? I love Bok's Eunoia (and sound poetry proper) but when did the poem become an epistemic subsidiary of "other domains"? Some of Bok's more pompous quips are below, the whole interview is here.

"I published some of this juvenilia, but I became convinced late in my undergraduate career that, if I continued writing emotive, lyrical anecdotes, then I was unlikely to make any important, epistemic contributions to the history of poetry."

"Unlike other artists in other domains where avant-garde practice is normative, poets have little incentive to range very distantly outside the catechism of their own training--and because they know very little of epistemological noteworthiness (since they do not often specialize in other more challenging disciplines beyond the field of the humanities), they tend to write about what they do know: themselves, their own subjectivity. The idea that a writer might conduct an analytical experiment with literature in order to make unprecedented discoveries about the nature of language itself seems largely foreign to most poets."

"Crystallography (my first book of poetry) attempts to put into practice some of my theoretical suppositions about 'pataphysics. Inspired by the etymology of the word "crystallography," such a work represents an act of "lucid writing," which uses the lexicon of geological science to misread the poetics of rhetorical figures. Such lucid writing does not concern itself with the transparent transmission of a message (so that, ironically, much of the poetry might seem "opaque"); instead, lucid writing concerns itself with the reflexive operation of its own process (in a manner reminiscent of lucid dreaming). Such an act of sciomancy borrows much of its crystalline sensibility from the work of Jean Baudrillard, who argues that, for 'pataphysics, every phenomenon exceeds its own containment within the paradigm of a theoretical explanation. The crystal represents hyperbolic objecthood--a thing impervious to analysis: captivating because it is indifferent; frustrating because it is meaningless. The crystal invites us to enter a poetic prison of surfaces without depth, a prismatic labyrinth of mirrors that revolve into themselves--hence, we lose ourselves when we gaze into this crystal because it promises us answers to all the questions that we exact from it, but instead it ensnares us viewers with even more questions to be asked of it."

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