I tend to think of poetry (and art in general) as somehow scatological - in that it is part of a process of consumption; expulsion, waste and expenditure - one chews stuff up and shits stuff out, leaving a trail of effluvia (be it poetry, sculpture, sound...) and ends up creating by a process of digestion/transfiguration; the old alchemical dream of turning shit into gold (See the Coil Back catalog - "Gold is the metal with the broadest shoulders").
Art is waste - see my comments on political practice, viz. Adorno on Art's functioning outside of the normative economy of exchange/function. This applies to poetry too - poetry is, by nature, not discursive, it eschews the normative economy of meaning-production through mimesis/signification. Normally such a description is only applied to Langpo, but this is not the case - If the aim of poetic expression (pun intended) was straight communication, then the communicator would be best to chose a form more suited to such (assumed) transparency. Rhyme, metaphor, metonymy, parallelism, sonic patterning - all of these cause noise in the channel. Form (and style) inform the reader, are part of the content that is consumed. there is white noise, pink noise ... the unintended, the pun, the "trans-segmental drift"; all of this functions alchemically, as processes of digestion/transubstantiation.
Last night I was talking to a friend, and let slip that I'm not so big on Auden. He replied that September the 1st, 1939 was about Truth, and that one either agrees with old Wystan, and likes the poem, or doesn't. I beg to differ. If such was the case, then I'd probably like half the faux-beatnik political ranting that goes on, but no such luck I'm afraid. I'd rather they shat out Free Jazz. Auden, like Eliot, is restraint in practice. Language reterritorialized. Give me the sprawling morass of Stein, or Pound, or Schuyler, or the Sibylline Hysteria of Alice Notley any day.
[Robert McLean's comments have been removed at his request]
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