Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Canadian Feature—Issue 53, May 2015)

Erín Moure
Forma Vitae

To start with the first word that arises: open. To continue with the first question that arises from that word: but what would a poetics of the open be? “Inclusive” not being quite the word I am reaching for, as the (supposed) shared interior of that word “I-nclusive” belies an exterior constructed elsewhere and prior, as if a DOS shell or commanding membrane. It limits the programming that can occur, is about to occur.

The open would be to break out of that, too.

(something about recognition / self-recognition, queerness to be added here)

I prefer the notion of a conversation, and in poetry’s conversation I see not two tongues vocalized for four ears imparting/comparting but a weave or weft or textile of multiple threads of varied spinnings, colorations, twists, materials, such that a fabric emerges which is being woven, sewn, at many points in its cloth and my many hands, mouths, tongues. It rustles. It is poetry as a genre of movement’s twist-flattening-obverse or is a transverse epistemology, in which any individual’s contribution is a two-dimensional plane or plane-vector intersecting the common plane (which is a vibratory element and not or not quite a plane).

(something about whiteness and colour, about Canada’s discomfortable and discomfiting settling, to be added here)

Those poets who work at one point of poetry’s fabric (for this is all that is possible for a singularity) feel the tug of the work of others at another side or corner, and this tug influences their own work’s generation, and makes them more glad and confident, in the knowledge that others are working alongside them. Mutability’s ardour is present, presented.

This textile, poetry, is not one aesthetic hounding or trumping another, but can be folded, spoken, shaken, torn and mended, re-dyed, and always it makes a sound of gentle working, fierce working at cellular molecular levels where language/s (they are plural) coalesce and intersect; textualities, textscapes, texteriors generate and are generated, thrall and intercalcate. Anger and despair are not alien to it either, for poetry is not meaning but is this working, a “forma vitae” in which the poet’s mind and hands are plural with other poets and all are “working at the limits of signification.”

Not entropic but amplificatory. And, as Chus Pato reminds us in Galician, poetry is always sovereign.

(something about motivated irrationality in human thinking to be added here: the verification bias and the tendency to find the answer that we wish to obtain. this and converse accidents and other fallacies—all arguments for extending poetic research beyond an individual practice or that of a set of individuals defended by one individual)

The keys to the next poetry on these North American shores will be something that—as German (and partly American based) poet and translator Uljana Wolf recognized at UBC Green College in Vancouver a few weeks ago, taking up (Turco-German and American-based) Yasemine Yildiz’s writing—breaks out of the monolingual paradigm of translation, which breakout, to my mind, requires (when you can see the paradigm we live in, and it takes work to see) that we (poets, readers) open world and languages to other creasings, folds, views.

As such, for a poetics of the open we need admixtures and co-presences. Marilyn Dumont’s The Pemmican Eaters beside Caroline Bergvall’s Drift, Chus Pato’s Flesh of Leviathan beside Fred Wah’s Is A Door, Oana Avasilichioaei’s Limbinal beside Jordan Abel’s un/inhabited, etc.

In this creasing, indigenous (First Nations) epistemologies and polylinguistic entrances will be (for us in the Americas) key.

Lyric equations and examination of subjectivity’s membrane and quiver, of subjectivities’ and subjectivization’s membrane and quiver, need to be read beside work derived from methods which privilege the pulsational or appropriative, machine language or the bio-chromatography of cells. Also, the poetries of other centuries and continents need to be read as contemporary: Sugar Le Fae’s Catullus, Moure’s Rosalía de Castro, Robert Majzels’s and Claire Huot’s Li Bai and Bada Shanren. Additionally, the contemporary poetries of other languages with differential structures, such as Răzvan Țupa’s Romanian of declined nouns and Yuri Izdryk’s Ukrainian of unfixed word-sentence order, need to be read in the original by poets working in poetry in English as well as read in translation—which, once severed from its original, participates the monolingual domain, from which so many particularities have already vanished.

The future of poetry, and of poetry’s own poetics, rests thus and unmistakeably thus with the reader (the poet-reader and all readers) who can recombinate and articulate anew.

My contribution to this arriving poetics of the open, poetics of the reader? To keep working quietly and above all, to listen. So as to hear, and to allow my own poetics to be changed.