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May 20, 2011

This chap book may be read as a latecomer’s response to a world that has changed and is changing so rapidly, that the beard, if the author were able to grow a beard, is down to the ankles and the eyelids weigh a ton while taking stock of the sense of over-saturation, divided attention and other totalitarian lite phenomena that make up the day’s mental work, courtesy of all of these new electronic gadgets and media outlets begging to be analyzed–oh, let’s say “dissected”, as if they really were biological agents)– by critics of capitalism and consumer society. At this point, the anxiety felt from all of this is too strong for that kind of criticism to be warranted, especially before performing mimesis with and of the words, images, sounds and effects we share in these physical and virtual spaces.

This chap book contains poems mostly written from Spring to Fall of 2010, first in a foreign country (Honduras) and then in this newly reacquainted one (USA). Coming back produced estrangement. It is now impossible to forget how apparently self alienated and mentally ill half of the US population (including myself) seems to be and that’s not even referring to the half of the population who votes for a certain political party (the one with all the contempt for minority groups and working people). I have tried to transfigure and sometimes negotiate with the voices and entities that represent this makeshift would-be-maybe-actual milieu. It is more or less a confrontation. I’ve tried to do it without “judgment”. If I am not laying out a poetics, I am also not trying to be polemical. I am suggesting a narrative arch to the following pages.

This chap book relies playfully on the old serious insight that all language is potentially political, that the forms of cultural expression at our disposal which are utilized the most, encompassing all the things mentioned in the first paragraph, exploit the general ignorance of that insight as they dominate our discourse like a catchy and vacuous high school trend. Seeing that embracing pop culture has been treated like an academic rite of passage within the Liberal Arts for the past 20 years or so I suspect that many in creative writing MFA programs and other well networked poets would find these statements of mine to be pretty antiquated. And yet how I am like Peter Pan shows up in the pages here and there (it’s worth noting that IF these folks in writing programs and the larger poetry and fiction community were my sole audience, writing this preface would feel very obscene and never occur).

This chap book relies often on ambiguous lines, relatively conventional syntax, innocent and attempted original metaphors, occasional monosyllabic enjambments (to undercut preceding lyricism) and cheap puns. If there is anything worth mentioning, as far as a poetics is concerned, is that I still have very little trained grasp of the musicality in poetry, and that the connections I feel to certain literary traditions are still in infancy and go beyond poetry and literature. There are potential diasporas being delineated in my mind all of the time, of peoples (their sensibilities/aesthetic and cultural values) who scatter or are perceived as scattered, invisible to the barkers and passive consumers of the multiple mainstreams of cultural life.

This chap book is dedicated to certain kindred spirits who have experienced wary and sometimes enthusiastic ambivalence towards this aforementioned milieu; I hope this rationalization away of aesthetic coherence – for the following pages do not represent a coherent aesthetic– is the last one requiring the acknowledgment of such spirits ( I support the smashing of mirrors when at all possible). On the other hand the treating of this long moment of alienation in my aesthetic values as a history of a people’s exodus, exile, repression, liberation, etc. may betray something quite original (my confidence stems from living in a biological anomaly. Trust me). I also hope that no matter what caresses of or insults to the attention span you endure in reading this, you find enjoyment in thoughts and words. Thank you. And let’s get to some sense-making.


From → Poetics, Poetry

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