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backwards from the end

with 8 comments

Not sure whether it is a five paragraph essay, depends how you count the first line, but this from Jane is brilliant and brilliantly concise.

(I’d like to quote it, but it would have to be in full, which isn’t good blog form, so go look and maybe come back…)

Now, I haven’t much to add except this: the trick of course is to figure out what to do with the symmetry. What does it matter that poetry imitates price or price poetry or that there’s an inadvertent or atmospherically determined correlation between the two. I ask because this is exactly the sort of thing that I am trying to clarify in my own stuff right now. And in fact, a clarification of this would be a clarification perhaps of the point of the study of literature today (as broadly or narrowly as you’d like to think “today”). And perhaps further (and more importantly) it might also be a clarification of the point of literary creation when aimed toward any end other than airballing polemical delivery or obsolescent content provision. Hmmm…. Art as social heiroglyphic where we can read what can’t be read (or can it) elsewhere, but if we can read it elsewhere, why bother with the detour? Or form appears in the art more clearly than elsewhere – because everywhere else the seamstitches are hidden and the statues seem to be balanced, free-standing?

I’d love to hear what Jane thinks, but it’s perhaps not a conversation that one has in a comment box.

I think if I could figure this out, or at least feel as though I’m on my way to figuring something out about this, I could work again as I used to…

Written by adswithoutproducts

January 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Posted in aesthetics, economics, form

8 Responses

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  1. Money shot!

    Dominic

    January 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  2. Dirty minded! We’re talking about poetry for crissakes!

    adswithoutproducts

    January 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm

  3. The poem circulates without ever being sold, by ceasing to be a poem when sold, whatever sold might mean for a poem, and within the poem, testing and clarifying an end without the end being the end of that means. price is found in the sale, the poem is lost? a point where the symmetry ends, testing the difference?

    rm

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm

  4. Money shot! (Sorry)

    Are poems without punctuation thus impotent? That would make Beckett’s How It Is the single most ‘valueless’ piece of writing ever composed. Perhaps that’s why it’s also the best piece of writing ever composed. A perverse Communist Manifesto for the immaterial age!..[get back to the marking, Pig].

    infinite thought

    January 8, 2009 at 7:26 pm

  5. All of which is to say…poetry um frightens me

    infinite thought

    January 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm

  6. IT: frightened, but on the right track. For of course if this value-play is a defining characteristic of modern poetry, late modern poetics forms itself in part by, in Lyn Hejinian’s phrase, “the rejection of closure” — by endeavoring to outmaneuver the retroactive fixing of meaning, identified (unevenly) with bourgeois individualism and/or hierarchical domination. This is not to draft Beckett as a postmodernist avant la fucking letter — merely to note that, yes, unrealized value becomes increasingly at stake (surprising no one, I sez it comes into its own around 1973: financialization, re-abstraction of the value, etc etc…)

    jane

    January 8, 2009 at 10:41 pm

  7. Ok see there’s an even clearer case. Why do you think this analogous situation would arise around 1973? How do the wires of mutual causation (or whatever, likely whatever) run? Atmospherics, ambience, direct alleogorization, poets staring at their now floating dollar bills? Did Nixon drink the same well water that the poets drank?

    All the interesting work on lit has been an attempt to figure this issue out, no? And we always end up with something that we don’t want to call the collective unconscious, for obvious reasons. Jameson after Adorno, political unconscious after “The unresolved antagonisms of reality return in artworks as immanent problems of form” and on and on.

    But why do the unresolved antagonisms of reality return in artworks as immanent problems of form? Or how? By what mechanism? And to what end?

    This is perfect what you’re saying, but I always want to know the mechanics of the movement to and fro, or else I fear projection and pseudo-serendipity and the like.

    (Just so it’s clear, tone is tough on-line famously, I love what you’re saying… Perfect and I’m envious of the claim. This is just what I always want to know…)

    AWP

    January 8, 2009 at 10:53 pm

  8. I’m going to go read How it is now. Was supposed to take it with me to the US, but it didn’t fit in the bag…

    AWP

    January 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm


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