Tuesday, April 19, 2011

three brief paragraphs on conceptual poetry

Conceptual poetry might be less regressive with respect to visual art than mainstream or avant-garde poetry, but it appears to have traveled back to the future and straight into futurism. The “importance of… innovation”; the text “begs to be seen blankly for the novelty of its concept” (Bök); “words were almost always found imprisoned on a page”; now, “the possibilities are endless” (Goldsmith). Moving forward. Marching forward. Charging forward. Is this poetry or industry or war? What is the importance of innovation? What good are liberated words if we’re still asked to see blankly? What good is novelty if our problems are older than our archive? The possibilities are endless, but the necessities are always limited.

Capitalism is a metastatic system. It’s premised on the manufacture of consent to un-ask questions about justification. Sweep telos under the rug while teleology remains displayed on the mantle. Conceptual poetry, like capitalism, grows because it can and seemingly only—necessarily—because it can. It sounds like it might foster an anti-demotic elite in the way that competition infects social environments with the terroristic impulse to eliminate one’s rivals. I don’t want liberated words any more than I want liberated capital. I want both words and capital to remain circumscribed by the needs of people. I want them to service just usage, not to attain freedom of injustice.

“if socrates was a poet / ill consider it” (Goldsmith). Socrates was a prick who insisted on the wrong questions out of patrician disdain for people and politics. What sort of essentialism does conceptual poetry endorse if it takes the identity-obsessions of Socrates as respectable? The metaphysical pretensions of the individual. Pretend self-effacement but never forget to publish your name.

[Citations: Christian Bök, "Two Dots Over a Vowel"; Katherine Elaine Sanders, "So What Exactly Is Conceptual Writing?: An Interview With Kenneth Goldsmith"]

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools' Day Meal

April Fools' Day is obnoxious. There's no joke here.

Tonight's meal didn't know what it wanted to be. I had tofu, potatoes, kale, and mushrooms. I was going to make scrambled tofu with a red jalapeño and maybe some quinoa, then I was going to use soy sauce and maybe make some rice. What I settled on was balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry, sage, oregano, and parsley. Sort of weird with tofu (and a jalapeño), but I liked it. I baked the kale until crispy.

I'm not posting a recipe because it's straightforward and I've done it many times before. Maybe it's a function of the season (root vegetables ad nauseum), but I've been making the same half-dozen or so meals on rotation. Which doesn't make for interesting reading, I'm sure. Hence the following announcement:

Indefinite hiatus due to lack of inspiration.