Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poetry NZ 40

is out now (available here), including my essay "Recent Developments in American Poetry" - covering the Gurlesque and related poetries, Flarf, and Conceptual Writing. Here is the section on Johannes Göransson:

"The phenomenon of grotesquery as a means of questioning gender norms and identity isn’t confined to women. Johannes Göransson is a male poet working in this field. He relies on the Julia Kristeva’s framework of the Abject, which centres on the othering, fracturing, exploding and mutilating the speaker’s body and consciousness through a regime of continual violence and transgression:

My girlfriend is gasping for air; she’s going catatonic
in this bargain bin of a winter, she’s scared of pigeons.
I own a shoddy collection of pigeon skeletons.
I never thought I would be able to fit so many
disparate parts in my mouth at once. (35)
I keep mentioning my torso because I wish I were a zoologist. I wish I were a surgeon. Or Darwin. Or a ballet impresario in Paris. Or a mole in the ground. Or a reptile collector. Or 5000 accidents. Made of Swans. Or Darwin. Or an injury. Or going home in a wheelbarrow. Or moving into the Hotel Fuck. Or bleeding slowly into a silver bucket. Or plundering. Most of all I wish I were Darwin. (17)
Here the text becomes a battleground for competing desires and pulsions, the ‘so many disparate parts’ of language that emanate from the ‘mouth’ compete as vehicles for the assertion and explosion of self. The humanist distinction between human and animal, and the rationalist distinction between subject and object collapse as zoologist and mole become one and the same. Darwin is conjured as the archetypal destroyer of epistemologies and metanarratives (as in his impact on Judaeo-Christian cosmology). In this respect Göransson is a Darwinistic regressor, a user of the name as a vehicle for becoming animal. Being is discarded in favour of movement. The body, both personal and political, becomes the site of conflict and abjection as in the titles of some of the poems in the collection:
‘Shotgun Wedding in the Ribcage of the Bourgeoisie’ (9), ‘Ronald Regan Brought Me to this Country – Me and the Anti-Abortion Movement’ (29), ‘I Write Like a Girl, You Read like You’re in the Closet’ (68).
Such titles appear as interruptions to the flow of a longer poem reading like catch-phrases or shouted announcements as a result of their large, bold typeface, all-caps formatting or pop-up ads announcing what’s coming next on the network."


Andrea said...

This sounds really interesting - I'll definitely try and track down the Poetry NZ issue.

I've been reading Exoskeleton quite a lot over the past while . Which book of Göransson's does this excerpt come from? I'm thinking of getting one of his books at some stage soon, but trying to decide which one.

Ross Brighton said...

That's from A New Quarantine Will Take My Place (Apostrophe Books), which OI highly recommend, as do I Pilot: Johan the Carousel Horse. I haven't read Dear Ra yet, but definitely intend to, and Tarpaulin Sky is publishing another this year, which should be great!