Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seth on Conceptual poetry

[I wrote this response to Seth A's comparison of glam rock and "conceptual poetry." I think the key here is that once the "new" has become a "tradition" (as Ron S put it a few days ago), it is not new, it's "the new." We know it as the new. But that doesn't mean that it's positions are useless. In fact they may be more useful once we start talking about what different aesthetics are up to, rather than discussing if they are new.]

[And perhaps it's good for people to see the connection between Ziggy Stardust and Conceptual poetry. This past year an undergrad at U of Minnesota wrote his senior thesis on me, Patti Smith, Baudelaire and punk music - it had nothing to do with newness and all about race. Why not. I couldn't have been in better company.]


I don't understand why you can't see how folks like the Dadaists and O'Hara and Stein aren't related to this aesthetic. Bowie and Lou Reed and such are quite explicit in their references to literary and artistic decadence/aestheticism.

I think Goldsmith/Bök are very invested in their historical predecessors - Bok does campy remakes of Ball's sound poems after all and Goldsmith uses "found text" pretty much exactly the way various Duchamp-influenced artists did it in the 1960s and Goldsmith it seems always repeats that he thinks the artworld of the 1960s was a kind of ideal that poetry has not lived up to. And of course he runs Ubuweb. Which is an archive.

But one can always find a predecessor. That game just isn't that interesting. A lot of people still write like Lowell, so maybe we still need people writing like Warhol.

The idea that conceptual poetry is invisible is ridiculous. This poetic group has received incredibly institutional support. I mean it's more or less created as a group for academic study.


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