Friday, July 10, 2009

the approprations in the Slow Poetry discourse?

If you haven't read Kenny Goldsmith's post up at Harriet, check it out. He talks about his interest in identity as fluid (not, as everyone seems to be reacting to, identity as non-existent).

John Oliver Simon responds to the post:
Problem is the identity theft here only works in one direction, privileging the conceptual poet who pilfers magpie pretties from the phone book. Kenny and his gang still expect to have their names up in lights, to get the grant and the prize and tenure.
I responded (edited for typos at Simon's request) :

I don't understand what your argument is supposed to be. There's a difference between saying identity is fluid and identity is non-existent.

The very act of naming is an appropriation.

You seem to be arguing as if kennny's use of his name is hypocritical in some way. Not only is it not hypocritical (as if that were a reason to discount someone's work), it's what he just said was the whole mechanism of his work.

When a thing is named, both the name and the thing being named are changed forever. Kennie demonstrates this precisely in the act of placing his "own" name against texts he "didn't write".

also, (and this is not aimed at John Oliver Simon particularly, just to be clear) :

can people (mostly Harriet comments I guess) please stop invoking "the lower classes" when arguing against conceptual poetry, flarf, and appropriation in general? It's extremely fucking ironic. You demarcate "the lower classes" as if they were a cohesive group that you are speaking for with one voice. You're appropriating the REAL struggles of diverse and nuanced people for the purpose of winning a petty poetry argument.

Poets connected to slow poetry are extremely well-versed in the act of appropriation.

For instance, Richard Owen's writes:

Q: What happens when a gaggle of middle-aged financially-secure nobodaddys tell an old boring joke as if it were new and not boring?

A: Their ponzi schemes are backed by cultural and economic muscle and richly rewarded. The Whitney. The latest issue of Poetry. Viz. whoever's got the cash can make it sing. Nothing tough or edgy in making cultural capital that challenges nothing sing like a nightingale. It always has the blessing of power.
And Dale, also, appropriating similar themes of discourse, writes (brackets/blue text mine) :

Until F-ConPo [flarf and conceptual poetry] can articulate something that distinguishes what it does from others, I wonder who would possibly listen? At best, such efforts create a distracting show, while at worst, they eat up a lot of bandwidth and natural resources [where are his carbon credits for that accusation?] in order to promote a group of people who don't really seem to care about poetry, but about the social atmosphere and its manipulations--the market. A market based on an old model of globalization.
By "old model of globalization", I'm assuming he means the current, and as of yet, inescapable model (does this mean slopo is utopianist? I mean, "I'm not saying; I'm just saying").

no effort, so far, has been put into connecting these things in any real way. We're just supposed to pour our ignorance (or just distaste for, whatever) of flarf and conceptual poetry into the already formed molds of "Ponzi schemes", "markets", and "globalization". It's a nice (if a little sloppy) way of piggy-backing discourse that has already taking place, copying and pasting it into one's own motives.

demonstrating very nicely (perhaps unwittingly) that conceptual poetry really isn't doing anything new. Appropriation is, in fact, the basic mechanism of language. And getting worked up in a frenzy over it only demonstrates how embroiled one is in this Capitalist idea of "ownership", and particularly "intellectual property".

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