Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Misguided Followers Of bp Nichol

Intriguing post regarding the super-subjective post-modern wrong turn much of Canadian poetry has taken apres Nichol. The writing is at times shoddy, and I don't accept the authorial presumption of American post-modern pioneering greatness, but some of the arguements are compelling. Here are a few:

"So closely wedded is poststructuralist theory to literary practice (in not just Nichol's but Davey's, Wah's, writings) that many lines in the Martyrology, for example, can virtually pass for Derridean critique itself, not even bothering to make prosy theorizing sound poetic: "third millenium bc.../pre-diluvian pre-babel king/gilgamesh suffers disunities of language of time" (What History Teaches 122), and "given back into the drift of print/of speech/ born anew among the letters/a different tension/ different reach" (119). The one regrettable consequence of this propensity to write always according to critical theory is that Nichol dashed lyricism aside as too logocentric and perhaps too fatuously colonial for his purposes. And the results for poetry to this day have been disastrous." -- DiDiodato

"And dear old isolable (semantic) meanings also go by the wayside, dangling loosely on the tongue as slippery 'signifiers', the poem caught in the closure of language that cannot mean anything but itself. There's something self-aggrandizing in the theory that brash experimentalists were naturally drawn to. Words are ultimately signs of more possible signs in a ménage of many possible discourses where syntax, "linearity of discourse" (34) and most of the traditional figurative devices virtually dissolve." -- DiDiodato

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