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Readings webjournal

Statements - Anything goes           [1 July 2007]

- Johan de Wit


The page is square (sort of), but a word (a poem) is round – most definitely. Confirmation of this may have started as a bawdy truth, but if it is a truth, of whatever nature, then it is not a question of why anymore but one of how. Continuation and contradiction share the same timeline but are separated by space. In short, how do you square a poem with the page? If the page is dependent on mathematics and the poem on a body of desire made from a body of language, then poetry is bound by the skin of your nose: because teeth have no skin – as we all know, except the lexicographer. Poetry is also bound by a throw of the dice or rather having a go at a throw starts the ball rolling. When that happens language led by the law of supply and demand unravels: the local recalls the same until neither language nor poetry have access to the universal. The tongue is the missing third term of the triad, i.e. it must be both engraved and enforced for a poem to be expressed. As soon as poetry is rolling off the tongue, it operates with one consent; at the double. A poet doesn’t propose or wait for a reply. Poets run with language, laugh with language and play shadow-be-my-meadow with language. In the area of language a whole region of inflammatory devices comes to a standstill when poetry turns sour and switches off the cream cult of contemporary excitement whilst its rapturous effect gives a rhapsodic welcome to poetry. We’re getting closer. Poetry is an effect of language, while poetics does the rounds and locks the hatches before any applause can reach or disturb the audience. If there is poetry, there must be a poet, i.e. the entire circus implies a reader, a poetry community and a poetics. Inversion – the line of thinking from source to sauce – grants the reader universal access to the way the poetry community reads. Poets are asked to re-evaluate their poetics regularly because the poetry community is most likely to develop whatever binds the individual participants together according to its own internal logic of the situation.


Johan de Wit


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