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Writing Is Never by Itself Alone:

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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-28-06 03:09 PM
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Writing Is Never by Itself Alone:
Kristin Prevallet

Writing Is Never by Itself Alone:
Six Mini-Essays on Relational Investigative Poetics

I. The Pursuit of Rationality in the Age of the Engineered Apocalypse

Currently in the U.S.A., the practice of intellectual analysis seems like an act of defiance. Fundamentalist logic pervades and is being used to justify many domestic and foreign policy decisionsfrom the notion that poverty can be controlled through faith-based initiatives, to establishing the parameters of an "axis of evil" that threatens "freedom." To imagine that questioning the larger context of the Bush Administration's policies is considered not only anti-American but a threat to national security should be unthinkable in a country where the Bill of Rights ensures that "we the people" are entitled to have a say in how "our" government handles our interests as citizens. Yet, the pursuit of knowledge as the basis for critical thinking has been suppressed and mocked for many years in this country, as if being "intellectual" is a threat to being "normal." Ordinary people are not considered ordinary if they are too smartand now we are beginning to see exactly how this habit of talking down to the populace, convincing them of their docility, in fact allows rather terrifying propositions to be accepted as necessary to the status quo.


II. The Opposite of Inspiration Is Investigation

Instead of buying gas masks and digging underground shelters (or moving to Canada), I turn my rage and confusion towards poetry, the unacknowledged legislation of worlds unacknowledged, to reveal both systems of knowing (content) and structures of ideology (form). Poetry, the work of radical linguistic, contextual, and metrical articulation, is a way to structure my sometimes perpendicular thought processes, transforming confusion and anger into form and meaning. Luckily, there are numerous trajectories in the history of poetry that active minds in search of some "tradition" can follow and, after careful apprenticeship, claim as their own. My choice for consideration here is the polyvalent tradition of Investigative Poetics and its links with Projective Verse, Relational Poetics, and even Language Poetry, which provide theoretical structures for working with language to reveal both the formal, syntactic structures that make it work, and the cultural, connotative sources that make it mean something. These enabling traditions are, obviously, specific, each with their own histories and cast of poets. And, although there are numerous points of entry into these traditions, the one most relevant to an introduction to Investigative Poetics is Charles Olson.


I've found a lot to value in this essay. Thought I'd pass it along.
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