|Rachel Blau DuPlessis [short takes on long poems]|
from Rachel Blau DuPlessis's essay "Otherhow" in The Pink Guitar: Writing As Feminist Practice:
Want the poetry of a raggedy, hewn, and situational character, with one criterion: that it has caused pleasure in the making. Pleasure in the writing and intransigence in the space for doing writing, and that is it. My only interest: in making objects that give me pleasures; they may also be interesting enough to sustain and renew whatever regard, look, or reflection is by chance cast upon them. That is it. Period.
Thinking about language in my poetry, I imagine a line below which is inarticulate speech, aphasia, stammer and above, which is at least moderate, habitual fluency, certainly grammaticalness, and the potential for apt, witty images, perceptive, telling and therefore guaranteed "poetic." That is readable [reasonable] within intentions we assume . . . my poetry wanders, vagrant, seeking to cross and recross that line: mistaking singular for plural, proposing stressed, exposed moments of genuine ungrammaticalness, neologisms, non-standard dialect, and non-normative forms. I struggle to break into the sentences that of course I am capable of writing smoothly. I want to distance. To rupture. . . .
To refuse the question as asked. To break through the languages of both question and answer. To activate all the elements of normal telling beyond normal telling.
Write the unwritten, paint the undepicted?
Must make a critical poetry, an analytic lyric, not a poetry that "decorates dominant culture" (to cite Michael Palmer) but one which questions the discourse. This situation makes of representation a site of struggle. . . .
Not carpe diem, the dominant injunction to me as delightful object in one poetic romance, but carpe personam, the female injunction to myself as critical subject in a politics of narrative. Seize the mask, the fictive, examine the instruments whereby writing "are" fabricated. . . .
While modernism has gone far in eroding linear telos and syntactic direction, it still iconizes texts by proposing them as sacred objects, poets as priests, their status sublime. . . .
I was also rejecting that singular voice which "controls tone." The lyric voice. Controls tone? . . .
Not incidentally, I am tired of "poetry" — that bike wheel mounted upside down thinking it is a real bike, forgetting it was undone by Duchamp.