what is conceptual poetry? some notes from the conference 2008
INTRO: I spent the last few days at the Conceptual Poetry & Its Others conference in Tucson. (I was definitely one of the others.)
To those uninitiated, a conceptual poem has a “concept” or idea behind it which often and typically supercedes other “aesthetic” notions imposed upon a work by writers. These ideas often take the form of a contraint, for example to type every word and punctuation and mark on the page of the September 1, 2000 edition of the New York Times ala Kenneth Goldsmith’s 900 page work entitled Day (of which he appears oddly proud that no one bothers to read). Works are collaborative in nature, whether the collaborators intend to be part of the project or not, as conceptional poets appropriate many if not most of their texts from other sources.
Or as Laynie Browne put it in her collaborative piece with responses from over 50 poets and by using a computer analysis to compose the following answer to the question “What is conceptual poetry?”
A can of call and response. An unfortunate noun modified by an adjective. What poets are NOT conceptual. It makes me ambient. Quagmire out side of texts. For example, Kathleen Fraser’s essay, on “Partial Local Coherence.” My life is a highly conceptual work. Predicated on the desanctification of the aesthetic object. Hejinian’s poems, often organized around grammatical structures. Idea has preference. Bernadette Mayer–how can Utopia not be conceptual? It began with Acconci and Mayer’s 0-9. Foulipo (Spahr and Young’s piece) was conceptual. Given Dworkin’s definition, I’ll have to change my bio note. Language beyond born.
So I have decided to post my notes from the conference word by illegible word here as a conceptual poem using the words and format of my notes in an attempt to transcribe what is there verbatum.
That post coming right up…