Thursday, 11 June 2015

Violence in Writing = "Death to the Oppressors".

For a long time I've been trying to resolve a seemingly complicated question about violence and language, violence and poetics, strategies and enemies. I say 'seemingly' complex, because when people are offended or affronted or disgusted by a bit of writing like this 'and thus we may now call for the head / and intestines of George Osborne and do' (from Gideon, Barque Press) or 'When you meet a Tory in the street / slit his throat. It will bring out the best in you' (Happiness: Poems After Rimbaud - Sean Bonney, UnKant) the discussion often starts to cross the lines set up by the fact that what is 'disgusting' is actually contained within  a poem. Something that is supposed to be (enemy tongue) 'abstract' and full of sentiment. I see these extremities as bursts of coaxial tenderness; on the one hand we call for the real cutting of a real throat, on the other hand we understand that cutting as a cut in social history, the composition of enemy thought and pressure, and the cut as the necessary dissolution of rigid corruption to fluid. To blood. To the symbolic red, the unification of alienated bodies in the purging of their oppressor. And to be clear, a couple of pages back from that first quote in Gideon we have 'a conceptual / enemy body  deranged ,,, you  and your cohorts in   careless magic have summoned forth. /   I AM SPECTRAL  ,,  HARMLESS'. By that, and it shouldn't need explaining (and perhaps that apologetic shouldn't have been there at all) is meant that the harmless body, the one with the least affect, that being the majority of bodies, is / are harmless and merely spectral to the oppressive elite. This is why screaming for the heads of the rich is in fact a very tender and generous act. In the depth of alien helplessness we are at least allowed the jouissance of disfigurement. I think that's probably the first step to writing poetry that makes everybody happy.

The question is not complicated. 'Is it reasonable, forgivable, justifiable to create a poetics that joys in the language of murder?' The answer to that is probably 'No'. And what good poetics have emerged that have been at once forgivable, justifiable and reasonable? Like an election. This is very insincere writing. I'm piling the words into your gullet and accusing you of using them, fine, but that's how I feel about most poetry. The constant pressure of the rightness of purpose, of shape and form. The correct approach, the studied. I wonder what a very loud brain makes of all that. With new "hate speech" laws coming in perhaps we have some opportunities to make our poetry finally break out into the imagination of a wider public, though at what risk? Some friends and I have been speaking very romantically and dangerously about what defending a few lines on, say, the disemboweling of Theresa May might look like. Especially if that disemboweling is staring up and down into line corrosions full of blistering love and disclosure. If those lines are seen as the debt settlement proceeding and preceding a transcendental form of living. I'm finding it difficult to put this into words, to make excuses. But here's a radio discussion where we kicked some of these ideas about. I'll say more about Athens later.

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