Friday, June 05, 2009

College of Negative Poetics

consider these two quotations from 20th century composers:
"I have nothing to say & I'm saying it" (John Cage)
"a statement should be made . . . without saying it" (Duke Ellington)
how do the possibly incompatible worldviews encapsulated in the above relate to the unbridgeable chasm that exists between differing ideas of what is, in the early 21st century, still called poetry? which of the statements is useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands within poetic criticism?
for those of you who don't dig jazz / an alternative question:
discuss the possibility that what is still, in some quarters, rather quaintly called the 'avant-garde' in British poetry, is actually the mainstream (answer with reference to Percy Shelley, John Milton, Aphra Behn, the Pearl Poet, John Donne, Mary Wroth, Abiezer Coppe)
for those of you who would rather go to the cinema
suggest three alternative uses for the following London landmarks:
(a) the Natwest ATM Machines, Walthamstow High Street
(b) the ZOO
(c) the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden
answers, not more than 5000 words, to be sent to me at the usual address. sensible responses will be published by yt communication. get on with it.


friedpudding said...

are the ellington and cage quotes really so diifferent?

Sean Bonney said...

they're fairly different, yeh

friedpudding said...

which do you prefer??

cage is playing a card he often humorously deployed . . . a sense of ego not being the most important aspect of utterance so that the saying and the said leak out (ofc he foregrounds individuality in doing so . . . but then all of that slurry mud lobbed at aleatoric work by poets such as Cage and MacLow ignore the humor and the fact that "chance" is conditioned by choosing one's grounds . . .)

ellington suggests that there is something to be said but that the saying is to remain elusive or even hidden

i love ellington but i find his use of "should" moves against the cunning of his formulation . . . "could" might make the conversation between the two "statements" more apparent

maybe it's worth asking some questions back:

how can a statement be made . . . without saying it?

in what ways can nothing be said . . . by saying it??

waking into the potential for your provocation ;-)



Sean Bonney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Bonney said...

or, rather than 'how', 'why' would a statement have to be made like that?

I'm gonna put my answers up in a while ......


Peckham in Furs said...

Where are the answers?

My brain hurts.

Hang Margaret Thatcher's organs 'bout the Zoo 'n' get Bonney pomes owt the cashpoint.