Tuesday, October 07, 2008

forgodot Issue # 1

there's a whole lot of discussion going on in blogland over this http://www.forgodot.com/. some people getting pretty pissed and others feeling confused or amused. some people being excited and taking it on as part of the particular moment poetry is in right now. others who were not included finding out and wishing they were in (it is a hoax of sorts, so go figure that one) and yes, i'm in for(godot )and glad i'm in. although some local bloggers must have skipped my name in the trawl through nearly 4000. it's ok, no problem. we all found our own names first didn't we or our mates names or people who matter in the big game, we found their names?

i think that's the point. on one of my comments either on the forgodot blog or the silliman one, i mentioned the fact that we are all our own/our only best readers. i've read heaps of the poems and some suck big time, others are so close to contemporary compositional mode, that they are good - but good only if you wrote them - or good enough to want to write like that or something. it is writing and some or most would be better than the stuff that comps receive.

i don't think the point of this project is to seriously tackle the incestuous world of contemporary poetics, but it does now doesn't it? and i like the way it provokes re the comments and the tough talk about law suits. i think the point is that we will either join in or we won't, we will accept that it is possible to compose by computer generated methods and that we can't or don't own words.

i have completed more than eight pages of computer generated poetry now using erika, trying first the source 'emily dickinson collected' and then the source 'heart of darkness' using hinge, lyric and fragment. it offers a selection of language strings to poach. i'm into poaching bits i like and putting those together, linking with my own words or not linking. i don't see a problem with this form of composition. it fast tracks production. is it good work? do i own it? who cares?

i think the timing of Issue # 1 is essential and the impact is long over due. too much weight is placed on cluster group and individual reputations. on names and product marketing. putting us all together with the dead and famous poets is saying something about egos and they got me excited about poetry again. i think that for me, it is a matter of why write and finding an answer. write via inspiration only, (and pretend that this is pure and it will be my reward) or mix it up, computer generate and inspiration, become a lyric poet again, go full on post avant, write to a journal or publishers agenda, write for the blog, write for myself - why write?

and one of the things that Issue #1 has made really clear is the fact that only poets care about poetry, and only then their poetry and the public have been lost to us for too long. we have imploded by the sheer weight of our earnest outpourings, our savvy positionings, our careerist agendas. the full impact of Issue #1 is an authorless, computer generated anthology, which has used in no particular order all the names connected with online publishing, or blogging and the editors have used us (or who we are in our names only) without fear or favour, without judgement or concern for quality or style - and no one gets the gong, and we all get the gong.

It's like the selection pool for the many 'best of' - which one will you select, (aside from your own) and will the fact that a big name is attached make it a better poem...just for the record, i really think john tranter is a great guy, but in this anthology, my poem is so much less awful than his one is (sorry john, but if anyone gets it i'm sure that you do).

here's my Issue #1 poem from page 3527

Bearing turned into immensity

A voice of parts
Of presence
A voice

The immortality of glee

A flower of laureates

Louise Waller


Blogger David Prater said...

Another thing I've been thinking about, which might explain the anger of some people, is that they might feel like they're being tricked, observed or over-analysed, in much the same way that I am sure this post, like mine, or Jill's, or Laurie's on the subject, will all become grist for the research project mill ... by means of the 'researchers' doing web searches on 'Issue 1' or their own names (they're already starting to show up in my logs)

it's all kind of like shooting fish in a barrell or something ...

then again, am I allowed to say my site has got more hits today than any other day for about a month?

7/10/08 16:51  
Blogger Louise said...

yes david you are allowed to say that about the hits. and why not, when it is so much more to do with a lessening of control and a blending of sorts.

i don't mind being a fish in a barrell. being alive and kicking. having the shite shocked outta me every so often. poetry is losing it's place in the world. too many mfa's too many blogs too many poets - no real tackling of the issues.

for poetry to be real again and have a value that people other than poets place on it would be wonderful. but most ordinary folk, (like most of the family members of most poets) don't want to read or discuss the poetry. they make nice sounds about book launches and the like, encourage us as though we were daft and not right in the head. why is poetry so important to poets and not to the rest of the world's population?

i'm thinking the issue #1 exercise is tackling much more than reaction. our reactions are secondary to the fact but part of the research, sure, and why not.

i know that we poets try hard and mean well, but we just don't fit like we used to, and that sure does need talking about.

let's see how far these guys can push the envelope. any poet using a blog or publishing online must be aware of the ease of sampling and poaching. this project is just reminding us...yes?

7/10/08 20:22  
Anonymous Paul said...

"for poetry to be real again and have a value that people other than poets place on it would be wonderful." Yayaya! Now this is a subject on which I have a lot to say. It is in the end the responsibility of the poets to make this happen, Ms Waller. We must stop writing to please editors and academics and each other. Create a poetic of rhythm and rhyme and energy that tackles subjects of interest to non-poets and so on. I could go on and on...Issues like getting rid of nepotism and the prize giving, all these linked to recreating a connection between poets and readers. An aesthetic which sees the poem as an event in the readers mind rather than a collection of words on a page. I could write a whole PHD on this except that I am too lazy and disorganised. Like so many things on the internet, this Issue One thing blew up and blew out and disappeared in days, unlike your gorgoeus poetry which will live forever.

23/10/09 11:44  
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