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Sunday, February 22, 2015

On Poetry

Literature is no parasitic language game. It is discourse designed to inform, persuade, incite, reassure, and so forth. Many new black poets wrote with just such aims in mind and with the understanding that they and the acts (poems) they performed had consequences. They regarded their use of language as serious, and it was a serious condition of good faith that the author’s “fiction” be commensurate with “fact.” So in theory, and in fact, the new black poetry intensified the normal illocutionary forces.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr., “Illocutionary Dimensions of Poetry: Lee’s ‘A Poem to Complement Other Poems,’” The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, ed. Joanne V. Gabbin (Univ. Press of Virginia, 1999), 138.

•Poetry as a sign and a signified event activates something, even if the something is a consciousness of nothing. As a pre-future writer, reader and critic of poetry, I maintain that poetry is a making and using of languages for purposes of entanglement in the scientific understanding of how particles and motions of life are constantly interrelated. Poetry is a unique paradox, liberating and enslaving the desire for nowness and historicity, our penchant for remembering and forgetting.

Sound is the core of poetry; it is the material state with which we struggle to derive meaning (s) from structures and linguistic units that we agree represent content. The less we talk about poetry, the better. Our greatest profit from poetry is living in and learning from a poem.

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