Warning: We interrupt this sequence on recent revisions to bring you the following post on things only peripherally relevant to Landscapes itself, but central to poetry.
It was an amazing concert. I’m in Toronto to see my mother, but we both enjoy saying that I came all the way from Montana for the concert, just to watch people do a double take. Certainly the concert set the timing. And I’d say that flying halfway around the continent for Tafelmusik’s Galileo Project makes perfect sense. (More on the concert at the end.)*
To cap it off, I discovered I was sitting next to a woman who appeared to be editing a long document, so of course I asked if it was hers or someone else’s. It had to do with a workshop, she said, and at length let slip that she was a poet. In the end we traded e-mails and names; she’s Joan Guenther, a language poet, she told me, and indeed I found her work (and picture no less) online at Influency Salon, where she’s featured as writer, editor, and critic.
I haven’t read or thought about language poetry for a long time, but I do remember that it stresses language to bring attention to it as stuff, the way that laying oil paint on in huge gobs makes you see the paint itself, not just the picture being painted. I remember big and jagged fonts, miss-spellings, all kinds of things that made the medium, the words, their size and shape and colors, prominent.
In retrospect, I see this as part of a whole wave of reactions against author-centered modernist poetics, which were increasingly perceived as conservative, “precious,” and promoting a false sense of security about the bonds that tie a poem—or any language—both (either?) to its origin (the writer) and to that of which it “speaks.” Believing such bonds to be false, LP seeks to sever them, or to demonstrate their falsity. (more…)