Some Words on my Poetry

This is a strange time in which to be writing poetry, a time which some are calling the era of Metamodernist arts. Metamodernism is supposed to be a style which evokes both modernism and postmodernism, producing a kind of strained (and not fully realized) combination of the two – resulting in a new way of writing (where polarities are held in creative tension). In other words, Metamodernism yearns for both universal truth and relativism, both construction and deconstruction, and both knowledge and naivety. Luke Turner proposes that it is “a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage.” Vermeulen and Van Den Akker state that metamodernism is inspired by a modern naïveté which is yet informed by postmodern skepticism and that the metamodern discourse consciously commits itself to an impossible possibility (chasing a carrot that is neither attainable nor real). (A crucial question that arises, of course, is the following. “In writing from a milieu of impossible possibility, what is actually communicated? … And can it become an invitation to participate in an onto-philosophical realm where despair is merely masked? … Can it become an invitation to be subsumed by an internet technology that threatens to become our master ― instead of being, at the most, our co-worker?”).

Although I do not propose to justify the way in which I write by trying to compare it either favorably or unfavorably to some kind of academic and “politically correct” guidelines, I do want to make a few comments on my poetic style. Firstly, I must confess that I do have an ideological anchorage (although this anchorage is achieved through what Kierkegaard would refer to as a subjective infinite passion for the religious) and in this respect I am probably a disappointment to the Metamodernists. However, further to this, I would argue that all poets actually have some form of ideological anchorage – akin for me to the truth that those who claim to hold “no absolutes” really do hold to an “absolute” – that of “no absolutes.” … As well, I do not write in a dislocated, a tangentially connected, a philosophically fragmented/relativistic or a grumpily ironic style. Perhaps these omissions – or, better said, “lack of polarity candidates” – also alienate me from some of the so-called Metamodernists. My overall impression, without being thoroughly educated in Metamodernist manifestos, is that my work may be too teleological and too strategically integrated to impress any Metamodernist.

On the other hand, aspects of my poetry that might suggest a connection to Metamodernist themes are “a realistic observation and lamenting of disappointment, pain and bewilderment – in combination with determination and hope,” “a deconstructionist overtone of some texts – where the movement of building alliteration, pauses, and a ‘tumbling into emotion,’ invite readers to derive their own interpretation of dramatic impact and indeed meaning – in conjunction with a logocentric desire that my texts be read aloud (speech) for fullness of effect,”  “a sometimes deconstructionist angle on human interaction and morays together with a logoscentric/constructivist view of love and teleology,” “a presentation of subjectively proclaimed truth (since I do not hide my subjective embrace) alongside situational doubt and contradiction,” and, in some of my texts “the emoting of the belief that (as Luke Turner proposes) ‘Existence is enriched if we set about our task as if … [known] limits might be exceeded.’” Once again, let me state that I make these statements as descriptive, and not as any kind of attempt for the acceptance of my writing by academics.

One aspect of my writing that you will not find discussed in (any) academic/review literature is the tendency of my longer works to be what might be termed “symphonic” (which also implies a desire that they be “performed”). The best way that I can describe this trait is to refer the reader to a deeper knowledge of symphonic music – from Mozart to Mahler to Vaughn Williams to Philip Glass to other 21st century composers. In other words, there are in my longer (narrative) compositions, thematic interweaving, thematic development, integrative soundscape elements, overarching sound/musical patterns and dramatic development. I do not pretend to be able to verbally analogize these elements, but I can state that a number of people familiar with symphonic/orchestral/chamber music have described my poetry as containing traits that remind them of these passions in their lives. It is also worth mentioning that when I write longer works I have an internal sense of “symphonic flow” and of “teleological/soundscape logic” which affects my results. This aspect of my writing is not Metamodernist and I am not interested in adapting it to become so. If I were to choose one work of art that provides the greatest inspiration for my poetic style, then it would be (strangely enough, not poetry but) Beethoven’s opus 131 string quartet — its combination of naïve simplicity and deep complexity is miraculous. … (As a slightly provocative addition to my note, I would ask this question [a la Gustav Mahler] of Metamodernists, “is not the construction of a new world in each new ‘symphony’ actually a combination of polarities – even of new universes along with new [implicit] polarities/logos?”)

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