“Literature is perhaps essentially (I am not saying uniquely or manifestly) a power of contestation: contestation of the established power, contestation of what is (and of the fact of being), contestation of language and of the forms of literary language, finally contestation of itself as power. It constantly works against the limits that it helps fix"
What's Happening with Poetics?
A brief survey of 20th century writings -- from the Objectivists, Futurists, &c., through Black Mountain to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine, & the writers involved and working in these traditions (emphasis on the plural) show a very real concern with the ways in which language operates in social (micro and macro) spheres as well as the text itself.
When the first series bearing the name “Subtext” occurred in April 1994, a small booklet accompanied the readings; less of an anthology, more than a program, it presented a brief sample of the writings along with statements on poetics. Many of the writings (emphasis on the plural) presented in this series since have included, in the form of introduction, commentary, and digression, some elements of paratext -- an along-side writings of process, development, extrapolation, and, dare one use the word “theory” -- so, it's not inaccurate to say that this series has presented both the practice and praxis of poetics (emphasis on the plural), albeit indirectly. It may be useful to pursue this topic further.
In the past, Subtext has presented workshops and talks, the most recent manifestations of which being the “Critics as Performers” series. Now seems a good time pause to assess and re-assess, dowse out & around the subject of poetics - the how and why and [ ] of writing, process & product; most importantly, to directly address the questions of poetics and open the field for discussion.
What's happened, what's happening? Where are we going; what are people thinking?
To prepare the ground for September's event, texts have been supplied by Jeanne Heuving, Bryant Mason, and Robert Mittenthal. These are not being presented as definitive texts and the sole subjects for discussion, but rather as generative ones; openings or “seeds” for a future conversation. On September 7, we'll revisit the themes, invite audience response, and open the floor for open and invigorating discussion.
This may open the way for a periodic revisiting of a topic that's always on the table. We hope to see and hear from you.
If you have any questions or would be interested in participating further, please feel free to contact:
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