Tuesday, May 01, 2007
One of the questions I have about some of the categories I’ve concocted in my own head over the years, such as
Post-avant is no less problematic. The defining moment in the transition from avant to post- is, as I read it, the recognition that the so-called avant garde is itself a tradition, that it has communities & that community itself is a value. This shift becomes visible when Don Allen makes the decision to organize The New American Poetry around such communities¹, however loosely defined they might have been in that anthology. Indeed, of that generation, only the projectivists really put program ahead of community – Larry Eigner was a “
So how does this play out in the
Tony Trehy is a poet from
0. pollarded. Inert with targets. Told and giving up within the week is the easy Victorian option now; generally orchestra is diminished by the demand for youthful understanding – a case fatality ratio. Ragnarök partial orders merely travel change, the most successful vertebrates that ever lived. Time for irreflexivity: iff I can be the collapsing material straight away rotations are not commutative. Drippling to the end weakly, you don’t want to think any more. Hadja wished, it can’t be hermetically sealed: false to worldly, false but this equiconsistent with heroism, without being able to prove it(,) can always be commuted to not(,) waiting for the: 1.
This explains everything. That there won’t be any explanations in the usual sense of that word, for one. This text can be understood in so many different fashions. For example, with the word / sentence pollarded, my first thought was not of the pruning technique, but of the Israeli spy, his surname transformed into a verb. Similarly, I hear Ragnarök as the mythic Norse battle, tho the language into which it is imbedded suggests the commerce of software. How much of this is a montage of found language? How much of it actually constitutes argument, as such. What are we to make of the twin disruptions in the final sentence of the parenthetical commas?
I hear this writing as focusing very much on the cognitive movement from word to word, phrase to phrase, in that sense quite close to certain kinds of language writing – the work of Jean Day, for example, or Leslie Scalapino, but Bruce Andrews or Erica Hunt as well. While there are poets in the
Trehy is an eminently readable poet, tho you have to pay attention as you proceed through each work. He promotes this further with a vocabulary that is large and sometimes technical – auxetic discrete breathers, no two prosopagnosics are the same – but full of wit & more than a few echoes: Discrete breathers parametrise pseudogenes, But Vitruvian children stalk with charges of religious defamation tastier than a plateful of every number looks like nineteen.
Concerning Trehy and the concept of community: he gave a reading to launch 50 Heads just last Friday. Tho it was invitation only, poets other than Trehy did the actual reading of the work. Both, I would suggest, are pretty clear signs that he lines up as a post-avant.
¹ One might read the history of the Objectivists as an incomplete, perhaps thwarted gesture in exactly this direction, but it is worth remembering that when The New American Poetry was published, that community wasn’t visible at all in American verse.
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