More on the "project" or "idea" of poems...

I wrote about Dorothea Lasky's "Poetry Is Not a Project" a little bit ago. Some of the quotes I've read from it also go well with what I wrote about yesterday in regards to quotes I compared from Robert Duncan's "Fictive Certainties" and Tori Amos's book on being a musician and creative person, "Piece by Piece." Both Duncan and Tori talked about a Source or a Frequency of creativity that the artist can tap into and create, if open for it. This is a similar kind of sentiment to this one from "Poetry Is Not a Project" which I read off of the blog "Slow Muse":

When people talk about poetry as a project, they suggest that the road through a poem is a single line. When really the road through a poem is a series of lines, like a constellation, all interconnected. Poems take place in the realm of chance, where the self and the universal combine.

Then, to put a finer point on it, I was reading what Jim Behrle had to say about recent revelations that the conceptual poem book "Day" by Kenneth Goldsmith, in which Goldsmith "began retyping the day's NEW YORK TIMES word for word, letter for letter, from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner, page by page," was not actually typed out by hand. He used OCR, that is he scanned the printed text and had that converted into a document.

To which Jim wrote many things about, and you should go check it out over at his blog, but I liked this quote very much and think it goes well with Dorothea's quotes.

If we've reduced the poem to an idea of a poem without regards to whether it's a good idea for a poem or whether the poem happens to be a good poem, can we at least be held to account that the Concept hold up?

So, projects are a BS idea since it's one of those claims to mastery that just fail because they're not accessing the Source. But "Day" was claiming to be an exercise in "uncreativity" so I guess in its ultimate goal, though achieved through fairly deceptive means, it succeeds. But then, in the end, we're mostly left with the question: who cares? Are ideas the thing that matter? (That's the central tenet of conceptual poetry, though, the idea mattering more, right?)

I guess it's like whatever else is out there. I'm not keen on very linear narrative poems. They don't interest me in the same way a stupid formulaic pop tune doesn't interest me. But there's an audience for it and if the audience likes it, ah well, so be it. Okay, well, if there's an audience who are really into the idea of things and not so much caring about the result of things, then go like it and support it. But that whole thing just doesn't speak to me.

I agree with Dorothea: It’s hard enough to create a poem. If he is destined to be a great poet, he will never know what his project really was, no matter what he says it is, was, or what he might imagine it could be. Which is to say that a poem, as a thing, resists being talked about linearly in its very nonlinearity.

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