Among other things, Silliman wanted to escape the problems of the novel, which for him were of a piece with the larger problems of capitalism:
‘Freed from a recognition of the signifier and buffered from any response from an increasingly passive consumer, the supermarket novelist’s language has become fully subservient to a process that would lie outside syntax: plot. The dynamic implicit in the novel’s rise toward the illusion of realism is this divorce, conducted in stages over the centuries, of the tale from the gravitational force of language… . This dream of an art with no medium, of a signified with no signifies, is inscribed entirely commodity fetish.’
[…] Silliman’s sense of the broken integers produced by capitalism is inseparable from his commitment to the emergence of a transformed, materialist society.
[…] Silliman often attacks the homogeneity of large-scale narrative for drawing attention away from the materiality of the words on the page…”
Bob Perelman, The Marginalization of Poetry
Could Silliman and the Language poets’ desire to renew attention to language’s materiality have aesthetic as well as political implications? It seems to me that it must—without a full context, the college-educated reader might think that Silliman is just nerding out about lyric versus novels. A poet reads a novel like a poem. I know I do. It takes fracking forever to get through a novel—and I only get through one if it is gorgeously written. I know Silliman ultimately wants to privilege language’s materiality and not an alternative commodified use of language—which is why he makes the distinction between the “School of Quietude” and the experimentalist avant-garde. Be that as it may, the “transformed, materialist society” he imagines is intriguingly (and suspiciously) poetic in its language use. Openness, parataxis, opaqueness is good; hypotaxis, transparency is bad. Does anyone know if any critics or language poets talk about the aesthetic implications of language writing politics?
Occupy Wall Street, Capuchin Edition: monkeys reject unequal pay. Why can’t these lesser primates learn the wonders of the free market?
The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation’s most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets.
My name is Chelsea, and somehow, after the marriage ceremonies, I found myself with two middle names.
Subscribe via RSS.