More on process and poems
Again relating to Quickmuse. Man, this is the sort of neoformalist stick-up-the-butt work that makes me crazy, even when I also kind of like it. It makes me crazy how same-same it all is. They all sound like each other, and like they’re tallking only to each other in the same melancholy formal register. How can people write like that all the time and not be aware of the profound unoriginality of voice? And consider that the only path to “quality”? Where is the newness? What’s getting broken and remade? (Nothing big, that’s for sure.) It’s like watching someone in a box extend a tiny feeler outside the box and wave it around in an elaborate encoded handsignal. Even if I understand the meannig of the handsignal and its beauty and the history of the tentacle-waving from inside a box art form, I’m so dissatisfied! Yes, there is a place for the muted expression of things… I can’t put my finger on what makes me so FRUSTRATED when I read poems like this. It’s like being a volcano and having someone try to make you sit down and listen to a reasoned argument about how you need to brush your teeth. They are right, and it’s fine for them to expect you to listen quietly, but when their speech is over, you’re still a fucking volcano. I want big poems, and I want to be surprised, and mind-fucked, and taken on a trip, and pleased by something that goes somewhere I don’t expect. I want MORE.
Ideally, I suppose, watching someone else’s process makes one frustrated, and just frustrated enough to run off and write a BETTER poem. Just like retranslation, where you love a work, and respect a translation of it or have special nostalgia for it, but it does not match your own vision and so becomes a constant pebble in your shoe until you do it your own way. Inspiration by way of annoyance. God, people! Get out of the box! Would rather see something, anything that isn’t like everything else, and definitely that isn’t “workshopped” or “polished”.
Maybe the toothbrushing is not quite the right example. They’re like small, perfect, formal gardens. I like them, but I want fucking terraforming — that’s big and vulnerable.