ab chaos lex
Accompaniment and encouragement, with trial and error, for my students in Fiction Writing.
30 September 2012
Al Filreis Is Summing It All Up
I am tagging along in a Coursera class called ModPo run by Al Filreis, and wanted to snatch his notes in answer to the students' insistent question: What is modernism. Al says:
intense self-referentiality (the poem gives evidence of self-consciousness about the fact that it is a poem)
a partial or complete break from mimeticism, realism, narrative
a partial or complete break from a stable coherent "I"/persona/speaker
a move away from traditional stanza forms
an intentional open-endedness at the level of the meaning of words and phrases, and also at the ending (non-ending) of the poem
meta-poetry, an intense interest in poems as themselves providing an ars poetica
a devotion to the kind of art that makes you ask, "Is it art?" - existential questions at the level of art itself
often, especially in the early years of U.S. modernism: an effort to condense; a hatred of verbosity, especially lofty "flowery" rhetoric
belief that the poem is a poem, not a beautiful thought, not a sentiment
a belief that anything can be potentially the material (or subject matter) for a poem
a distrust of high-flown rhetoric and "high poetic" diction
These are ridiculously enormous generalizations and won't hold up with any given poet, but describe a general trend.
Love this all and want to think about it later, both alone and with my own students. . . .
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